Jones notches first victory at Alcorn|COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

LORMAN — Thursday night’s game between Alcorn State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff was about what you’d expect from two struggling 0-3 teams.

There were plenty of misfired passes, penalties, even a couple turnovers, and points were hard to come by.

When it was over, though, it was almost impossible to wipe the smile off Ernest T. Jones’ face.

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Emmanuel Arceneaux caught seven passes for 74 yards, including the game’s only touchdown, and Taylor Richardson kicked two second-half field goals as Alcorn beat UAPB 13-3. It was the first career win for Jones, an Alcorn alum in his first season as the school’s head coach.

“I’m very excited. To finally get those losses off you and get that first win, I’m very, very excited,” Jones said. “I love the university. I think our fans deserve it. As nice as it would have been to have gotten it already, to get it right here on ESPN, in this stadium, that’s all you can ask for.”

Alcorn’s offense, which had been shut out in two straight games, continued to struggle, finishing with 241 yards. Quarterback Tim Buckley was 9-of-17 passing for 100 yards, but did run for 45 yards — a total that was misleading because of two sacks and an early fumble that resulted in a 40-yard loss.

The Braves defense, however, rebounded from last week’s drubbing at Troy with an exceptional performance.

Alcorn held UAPB to 221 yards and allowed only a first-half field goal that was set up by Buckley’s huge loss on the fumble. It was a marked turnaround from the previous week, when Alcorn had surrendered more than 700 yards in a 65-0 loss to Troy.

UAPB running back Mickey Dean, averaging 91.7 yards a game coming in, was held to 36 yards. His backfield mate, Martell Mallett, also had 36 yards, while starting quarterback Jonathan Moore was 10-of-20 passing for 104 yards. Pine Bluff also hurt itself with seven penalties, including a pair of drive-killing personal fouls inside Alcorn territory.

Alcorn defensive end Malcolm Taylor forced a key fumble in the fourth quarter after the Golden Lions had moved inside the Alcorn 30. In all, the Braves had five sacks of Moore and backup Gvonta Turner. Taylor had two sacks, while linebacker Lee Robinson had one to go along with nine tackles and an interception.

“They had seven, eight, nine three-and-outs. No matter what happened for us on offense, they would not let that team in the end zone,” Jones said.

What happened for Alcorn on offense was another lackluster game that ended up being good enough.

On the Braves’ first possession of the game, they moved to the Pine Bluff 30-yard line before Buckley was blasted on a blind side hit by John Keith. The ball came loose, and three UAPB defenders alternated picking it up and kicking it forward until Jared Dorn finally fell on it at the Alcorn 30. The play eventually led to a 25-yard field goal by Carlos Reyes.

Alcorn failed to get a first down on two of its next three possessions, then finally put a drive together early in the second quarter.

After winning a punting duel and taking over at the UAPB 43, quarterback Tim Buckley led the braves toward the goal line. He had a pair of runs for 7 and 11 yards, and completed a third-down pass to Edward Johnson to take it to the 20.

After a running play went nowhere, Buckley then lofted a pass down the right side for Arceneaux. It settled into the receiver’s arms in the back corner of the end zone for Alcorn’s first touchdown in more than nine quarters.

“It really was a good feeling. I was hoping I could snag the one on the post route earlier, but I’m just relieved to get a touchdown,” Arceneaux said. “It humbles you. Going through those last two games makes you want to focus more.”

Alcorn didn’t do much the rest of the game in terms of scoring, but did manage two drives in the second half that salted away the win.

A 35-yard kickoff return to start the second half by Corey McLaurin and a personal foul penalty on third down, after UAPB had stopped the Braves, led to Richardson’s 37-yard field goal and a 10-3 lead.

Later, in the fourth quarter, Alcorn took over at the UAPB with 6:08 to play. Joshua Brumfield did most of the heavy lifting as the Braves picked up two first downs and milked more than four minutes off the clock. Brumfield carried five times for 18 yards on the drive, setting up Richardson’s second 37-yard field goal of the half with 1:57 remaining. The kick made it 13-3 and put the game out of reach.

“We told our team, ‘have you seen what the defense is doing? Get two first downs and the game is over,’” Jones said.

Colorado 17, West Virginia 14

Aric Goodman made a 25-yard field goal in overtime to give Colorado a victory over No. 21 West Virginia on Thursday night.

The Mountaineers had the ball first in overtime, but Pat McAfee’s 23-yard attempt clanged off the left upright.

Cody Hawkins threw two first-quarter touchdown passes and Rodney Stewart ran for 166 yards, the most ever by a Colorado freshman, to help the Buffaloes improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2004.