Braves capture first SWAC title in 20 years defeating Southern 38-24
For the first time since 1994, the Alcorn State football team captured the Southwestern Athletic Championship by defeating the defending SWAC Champions, Southern University, 38-24 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The Braves were able to move the ball successfully on their opening drive. Quarterback John Gibbs, Jr. had a huge run for 50 yards to set the Braves up in the Jaguars territory. Three plays later Gibbs connected with Jordan Payne for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Braves ahead, 7-0.
Four drives later Gibbs led the charge again scampering for rushed of 19 and 22. The Braves weren't able to punch it in the end zone but All-SWAC kicker Haiden McCraney nailed a 27-yard field goal to give the Braves a 10-0 lead.
Southern would get on the board in the opening minutes of the second quarter on 21-yard field goal to put them within a touchdown, 10-7.
Anthony Williams III made his way into end zone on the Braves next drive after the offense drove 84 yards down the field. Williams III finished the drive with a 12-yard touchdown making the score 17-3.
The Jaguars struck back quickly when wide receiver Willie Quinn took a punt return back for 86 yard-touchdown to cut the lead to 17-10.
On the immediate kickoff, Jarvis Turner put the Braves in good field position on a 37-yard kickoff return. Gibbs hit wide receiver, Charles Hughes, for catches of 21 and 16 to put the Braves in Southern territory with only a few seconds to go before the half.
After three plays, Gibbs was able to find Billy Shed for a three-yard touchdown to give the Braves a 24-10 lead heading into the locker room.
Southern came out of the half and scored twice in less than five minutes of the third quarter.
A two-yard run by Malcolm Crockett and a blocked punt return by Dennis Craig tied the game at 24-24 apiece.
But the Braves answered the Jaguars charge two drives later. After a pass interference call on Southern, Anthony Williams III found the end zone again from four yards helping the Braves retake the lead 31-24.
The Braves defense fought hard the entire game and shutout the Jaguars offense in fourth quarter.
Gibbs found wide receiver Brandon Vessell for a 51-yard touchdown.
Southern had a few more chances to score but a fumble on their last drive put the game away.
Gibbs (named Offensive MVP) completed 20-of-30 passes for 245 yards and threw three touchdowns. He also rushed for 132 yards on 16 carries becoming the first quarterback in Alcorn history to rushed for 1,000 yards.
William Thomas II was named Defensive MVP after recording nine tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Braves finished the 2014 season with a 10-3 record (first 10-win season in school history).
Congratulations to Coach Hopson and the Alcorn State football team.