Friday, December 2, 2016

Alcorn Eyes Three-Peat in SWAC Championship Against Grambling State

Alcorn Game Notes

HOUSTON, Texas  –  On a quest to win its third consecutive SWAC Championship, the Alcorn State University football program will play Grambling State in the title game for the second year in a row at 3 p.m. Saturday at NRG Stadium.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU with Eric Clemons on play-by-play, Jay Walker as analyst and Sherree Burress on the sidelines. It can also be heard on 91.7 WPRL FM with play-by-play voice Charles Edmond on the call.

Alcorn (5-5, 5-4 SWAC) is playing for its 16th conference championship in program history. The Braves are in a similar situation as last season as they are going up against a Grambling State (10-1, 9-0 SWAC) squad that enters the game unbeaten against SWAC competition.

In last year's championship, the Braves beat the Tigers 49-21. Junior quarterback Lenorris Footman recorded four touchdowns including three in the air and one on the ground.

Footman's status for this year's contest will be a game-time decision as he's been nursing a hand injury. Freshman quarterback Noah Johnson has played in nine games this year and has posted 11 passing and 10 rushing touchdowns.

The Braves feature one of the premier ground attacks in the country. They average 217.8 rushing yards per game which ranks second in the SWAC and 18th in FCS. Junior De'Lance Turner leads the team with 61.8 rushing yards per game. He's coming off a career-high 129 rushing yards against Jackson State.

Thursday morning Alcorn earned six SWAC All-Conference honors. Seniors Darien Anderson and Eric Foster were named to the All-Conference First-Team on defense. Senior Detonio Dade and junior Timothy Gardner took All-Conference Second-Team nods on the offensive line, and senior Michael Hurns and junior Michael Brooks were selected to the All-Conference Second-Team defense. Click here to view the release.

Grambling won every SWAC game this year by at least 20 points. Its only blemish on the record came in a non-conference affair at Arizona on Sept. 10 when the Tigers jumped out to a 21-3 lead at half but fell 31-21. The Tigers led the conference in both total offense (507.6 ypg) and total defense (323.6 ypg).

Junior quarterback Devante Kincade, the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, led the league in total offense with 290.4 yards per game and has thrown for 28 touchdowns. His favorite target is senior Chad Williams who has caught 10 touchdown passes and averages a league-leading 119.1 receiving yards per game.

- The Braves are trying to three-peat for the second time in school history after previously doing it from 1968-70.

- Alcorn is looking to become the first team from the SWAC East Division to win three consecutive championships since the title game started in 1999.

- The Braves went undefeated against its SWAC East Division opponents for the second straight year. They've won eight straight games against division foes.

- Alcorn enters the SWAC Championship game on back-to-back regular season wins. It dominated Mississippi Valley State 61-7 and then shutout Jackson State in the second half for a 36-15 victory on Senior Day.

- The Braves have rushed for at least 155 yards in nine of their 10 games this season, including at No. 20 Arkansas. They've run for at least 255 yards in all of their last four games.

- Alcorn ranks top-10 in FCS and first in the SWAC in sacks allowed, only giving up 0.90 per game. On the flip side, the Braves rank 11th in FCS in total sacks, led by senior linebacker Darien Anderson who ranks fourth in the nation individually with 1.00 per outing.

- Anderson is on the Buck Buchanan Watch List which is awarded to the best defensive player in FCS. He's one of seven players on the list. In addition to his sacks, Anderson is also 14th in FCS in tackles for a loss (1.7).

- In the regular season meeting against Grambling this year, Anderson turned in a monster performance which included 12 tackles and a career-high four sacks. As a result, he went on to win Hero of the Week by HERO Sports.

- Alcorn is 5-0 this season when it holds the opposition to under 30 points.

- The Braves have come through with big defensive special teams plays all year. They've blocked five kicks which is the second-most in FCS. Turner has blocked two of them, while freshman Solomon Muhammad returned one back for a touchdown in the regular season finale against Jackson State.

- Alcorn's 54-pont margin of victory over the Delta Devils was its most lopsided victory since Oct. 5, 2013 when it beat Warner 57-0. It was Alcorn's largest win over a Division I opponent since Oct. 11, 2003 when it topped Prairie View A&M 66-0. Johnson had a historic day, setting a school record with eight total touchdowns which was one shy of tying the all-time FCS record. He threw for seven scores and ran for one. As a result, Johnson was named SWAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, College Sports Madness SWAC Offensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance FCS Performer of the Week.

- Senior linebacker Michael Hurns ranks 12th in the SWAC with 6.2 tackles per outing. He recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Alabama State in the SWAC opener. Hurns was named Student Government Association Senior Class President and took his seat in office Aug. 22. He will hold his SGA position for the entire 2016-17 fiscal year.

- Alcorn moved up a spot to No. 7 in this week's BOXTOROW HBCU Top-10 Rankings. The Braves, who have been ranked in the poll each week this year, have been as high as No. 2 this season.


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