Alcorn gets closer to claiming SWAC East

The Alcorn State University Braves football team got really close to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship last season.

The Braves football team was one game behind Jackson State University in the running to claim the SWAC Eastern division. But they ran into the stumbling block that was Alabama A & M Bulldogs, a team that came into Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium with a 2-6, 1-3 SWAC record. The Bulldogs upset the Braves 19-18, spoiling their chances of possibly making it to the SWAC Championship game.

A win would have tied Alcorn with Jackson State, who the Braves defeated in their season finale. The Braves finished last season with a 9-3, 7-2 record, making it the first time in 30 years since the team had recorded 9 wins in a season.

Fast forward to the present; the Braves (7-2, 5-1 SWAC) are one win away from clinching their division to earn a spot in the conference championship game in Houston, TX Dec. 6. And just like last season, Alabama A & M (2-3, 3-5 SWAC) stands in the Braves’ way of reaching the title game and possibly hoisting the championship trophy.

Looking back on last year’s loss, Alcorn head football coach Jay Hopson is preparing his squad to give a better effort against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

“We have to play at a high level. I think that’s the big thing every week. This is what it’s going to take for us to be successful against this team,” said Hopson.

Hopson remembers how painful it was to be on the cusp of leading the Braves to the top spot in the Eastern Division last season. This year, he hopes that the outcome is different.

“It was tough to lose such a close game to them last year. That was a heartbreaker. We had some tough breaks, but that’s football. We know that we will have to do some things better this year to be successful.”

Despite the Bulldogs’ record, Hopson and the Braves have no plans of taking them lightly.

“They have a good football team. They’ve played well against everyone this year. They are a young team that gets better every time they play. We have to be ready to play our best against them.”

Although Hopson’s Braves are really close to the title game, he and his team are taking a one game at a time approach and not looking too far ahead in the future.

“In our regard, this game is a championship game. We have to prepare in practice and stay focused on the task at hand in order to win this game.”

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