Huge third quarter lifts Braves, 48-20

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Albert Jones (22), a running back for Alcorn State, is wrapped up by Prairie View safety Bobby Perry (4) in the first quarter of Alcorn’s 48-20 win on Saturday as linebacker Ronnie Nunn (99) gives chase.(The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[10/21/01] The homecoming fireworks display Alcorn State put on after its game against Prairie View Saturday night had nothing on the pyrotechnics the Braves threw at their opponent during the third quarter.

Alcorn quarterback Donald Carrie threw three of his four touchdown passes in the third quarter, including two to Kris Peters, as the Braves converted three turnovers into touchdowns and ripped off 28 straight points to blow away Prairie View, 48-20.

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“That third quarter was a performance by a championship team. Not the first half, not the fourth quarter. But the third quarter was something we can build on to get them to play that way for four quarters of football,” said Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas, who was still dripping wet from a rare Gatorade shower in the final minute of the game. “Everything was clicking in the third quarter.”

Cletis Walker added 126 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, Peters caught three passes for 102 yards and two TDs and Ronald Gilmore caught two touchdown passes for Alcorn (3-4, 2-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference), which won back-to-back games for the first time since 1999 and avenged last season’s loss to Prairie View (2-5, 1-3).

“We’re definitely on our way to the top. It’s just a matter of everybody coming together at the same time and playing the way we can play,” said Carrie, who completed 11 of 17 passes for 226 yards.

Thomas was singing a different tune, however. He wasn’t happy with the way his Braves played in the first half, when they allowed 182 yards of total offense and trailed 14-13 after DeShun Baker’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Wilson with 7:47 to play in the second quarter.

“I didn’t really understand why we were playing the way we were playing. We were sluggish, weren’t blocking well, weren’t tackling well, that sort of thing,” Thomas said. “We had to come in at halftime and refocus. We got that straight.”

The Braves forced a fumble on the first play after halftime and cashed in six plays later with a 6-yard TD pass from Carrie to Gilmore to take a 20-14 lead. After holding the Panthers on their next possession, Alcorn drove 77 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 6-yard run by Andrew Burks. Walker added a two-point conversion run to make it 28-14 with 6:20 to play in the period.

A pair of interceptions then helped the Braves deliver the knockout punch, setting up a pair of quick drives and long touchdown passes from Carrie to Peters.

After an interception by Chris Lee gave the Braves the ball at their own 42, Peters made a spectacular play three plays later for a 58-yard TD. Peters went over a defender to retrieve Carrie’s underthrown pass, then stumbled through an ankle tackle at the 3-yard line and stretched the ball over the goal line for the score.

“I saw the ball, but No. 4 never saw it,” Peters said, referring to Prairie View safety Bobby Perry. “I saw how close I was to the end zone and I was just like, I gotta get in, I gotta get in.’ ”

Two plays later, Tyrone Parsons picked off a pass by Baker at the Alcorn 42, setting up another Carrie-to-Peters connection on the first play after the interception. Carrie dropped back with a play-action fake and Peters outran the coverage and caught the ball on his fingertips for a 58-yard TD that made it 41-14 with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

Prairie View answered back with a 77-yard drive, cutting it to 41-20 on Jimmie Maxey’s 6-yard TD run, his second touchdown of the game but the Braves took the ball and put the game on ice with a seven-play, 84-yard drive that included only one pass.

“We knew we still had a chance. Then they kept scoring,” said Perry, who led Prairie View with 10 tackles.

“Then we scored and they scored, and that was that.”