Carrie delivers for Alcorn State

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2003

(11/23/03)JACKSON Alcorn State’s postseason fate was in someone else’s hands on Saturday. So, while the Braves were waiting to find out if Texas Southern could upset Alabama State and give them the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s East Division championship, they settled an old score.

Alcorn quarterback Donald Carrie accounted for six touchdowns three rushing and three passing and the Braves had 625 yards of total offense as they beat archrival Jackson State for the first time in eight years, 49-25.

“It’s been so long since we beat Jackson State, and to finally come out with a victory after almost 10 years is almost the best feeling in the world,” said Carrie, who was 13-for-27 passing for 259 yards and added another 44 yards on the ground.

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Corvin Johnson caught two touchdown passes for Alcorn (7-2, 5-2 SWAC), Tyrone Parsons intercepted two passes, and Andrew Burks led an Alcorn rushing attack that totaled 366 yards with 93 yards and a TD.

The win was Alcorn’s fifth in its last six games, but it wasn’t enough to win the school’s first division title. Alabama State, which beat the Braves in October, defeated Texas Southern 38-26 later on Saturday to win the East and clinch a berth in the SWAC championship game Dec. 14 in Birmingham.

Alabama State will face either Grambling or Southern, who meet to decide the West Division title next Saturday in New Orleans.

“It’s time to do some scoreboard watching, but the rest is up to God,” Carrie said after the win against JSU (2-10, 1-5). “If we make it to the championship game, that would be a great feeling. But if we come out and know we finished our season the way that we wanted to, I couldn’t ask for nothing.”

Jackson State took a 10-9 lead in the second quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run by David Kinnebrew, but Alcorn turned the game around with a huge play from its smallest player.

Lonnie Teagle, a 5-foot-4 junior wide receiver, returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the JSU 31-yard line. Four plays later, Andrew Burks scored from 3 yards out to give Alcorn a 15-10 lead and the Braves never trailed again.

“I just tried to be a sparkplug for our team today. That’s all I was thinking about, was I needed to make something happen to get our team fired up,” Teagle said. “Every time I get a big return this year our offense ends up scoring a touchdown, so it was huge for us.”

Carrie tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Tabari Lott with 1:58 to play in the second quarter to put Alcorn ahead 21-10 at halftime, and the Braves put the game away with 21 points in the third quarter.

Carrie scored on a pair of quarterback sneaks for his second and third rushing touchdowns of the game, then connected with Johnson for a 33-yard TD pass late in the quarter to give Alcorn a 42-17 lead.

Carrie added another touchdown pass to Johnson in the fourth quarter, this time from 4 yards out, to seal the game.

“We had watched them and knew they were going to play some cover-two, cover-four and three,” Carrie said. “But figuring that they had seen us play and know we like to go deep, we figured they’re going to be in a four because they were going to back off our receivers, and that’s exactly what they ran.”

Jackson State had several chances to keep the game close in the third quarter, but failed to capitalize.

The Tigers got the ball at the Alcorn 36 after Tim Manning returned a blocked field goal to midfield and the Braves were penalized for a late hit, but JSU went three-and-out.

On Alcorn’s next possession, JSU linebacker Jason Lewis returned a Carrie interception 20 yards for a touchdown to cut the Braves’ lead to 28-17.

The Tigers’ defense allowed touchdowns on each of Alcorn’s next two possessions, however. The two scoring drives totaled nine plays and 131 yards, and included four plays of 15 yards or more.

In all, the Braves outgained JSU 258-34 in total yardage in the third quarter.

“We gave the rah-rah in the locker room, and it seemed like we got on the field and it didn’t show,” said JSU quarterback Robert Kent, who finished his collegiate career by completing 17 of 39 passes for 194 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions. “Alcorn just came out, we got on the scoreboard first, but they didn’t give up. They came out and played, and played well.

“You can’t take anything away from them. We didn’t play good and Alcorn played well, and that leaves us with a loss.”