Grambling marches into Braves territory

Published 9:14 am Friday, October 16, 2015

It’s halftime of Alcorn State’s season, and the “entertainment” is a matchup with one of the best teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Alcorn welcomes Grambling State to Lorman Saturday afternoon in a matchup of SWAC division leaders.

It’s a marquee game, and also the midpoint of an odd October for the Braves. They had one open date last week and another next week, with this game sandwiched in between.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Alcorn coach Jay Hopson said the broken-up schedule was more of a blessing than a challenge.

“It’s really not tricky, it’s kind of good. You get a bye and then you’re at the midway point to finish it out,” Hopson said, adding that winding up for a game in between bye weeks was part of the normal ebb and flow of the season. “You have to do that every open date week. It’s part of college football. It’s not an issue at all. There’s a lot of pluses to it. You can get some people healthy and make some adjustments.”

Saturday’s game is a potential preview of the SWAC championship game in December.

Grambling (4-2, 4-0) has won four consecutive games since dropping the first two to Football Bowl Subdivision opponent California and Bethune Cookman. It has scored at least 34 points in every game except the opener and has scored at least 53 three times.

The Tigers lead the SWAC in scoring offense and are averaging 477 yards per game. Quarterback Johnathan Williams averages 289.3 passing yards per game, which is second in the SWAC, and Martez Carter has scored eight touchdowns — four rushing, two receiving and two more on kick returns.

“Their quarterback is a really good football player, plus they have some skill players making plays,” Hopson said.

Alcorn counters with a rushing offense that ranks 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision, at 251.2 yards per game, and is also fifth nationally in total defense. Within the SWAC, Alcorn has allowed more than 100 fewer yards per game than the next-best defense.

The battle of strength vs. strength, and of quality teams with a long rivalry, should make for an intriguing day on the Reservation.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest