SWAC’s top offense, defense square off

Published 9:55 am Friday, November 6, 2015

After Lenorris Footman stepped in for an injured John Gibbs Jr., scored six rushing touchdowns, outrushed Southern and broke a school rushing record, Alcorn looks to carry the momentum over into Saturday’s home game against Prairie View A&M.

The game between the Braves (5-2, 4-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) and the Panthers (6-2, 5-1) puts the conference’s top scoring offensive and defensive teams against each other for an exciting game of X’s and O’s.

“We have an excellent team coming to town. It’s a conference game so it’s going to be a tough hard fought 60 minute battle,” said Alcorn coach Jay Hopson.

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

Prairie View averages 45 points a game and also leads the SWAC in total offense. It has 3,439 yards and has scored 44 touchdowns. The Panthers accumulated most of their yards in the air and are smart with their passes, having only thrown three interceptions all season.

In addition to the high-scoring offense, the Panthers have converted almost 50 percent of their third downs and are around 70 percent when going for it on fourth down.

“They’re certainly a potent offense and put up a lot of points in the season,” Hopson said. “He’s (coach Willie Johnson) done a great job his first year.”

By comparison, the Braves’ pass rush and secondary looks to be a key advantage.

Alcorn has allowed just 67 passes to be completed and come away with three interceptions. The Braves defense also has a nose for the quarterback, recording 29 sacks with Michael Brooks, Ramonte Bell and Darien Anderson combining for 13 ½.

“We just got to do what we do and execute,” Hopson said.

Gibbs was sidelined after a low hit in the matchup with Southern, which made it possible for Footman to step in and dominate last week.

“Lenorris is an excellent football player,” Hopson said. “He’s always ready and a great football player. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Hopson said the status of Gibbs is day-to-day. He has practiced this week but whether he plays is ultimately a game time decision.

The Braves are entering the final stretch of their season, but Hopson and his team continue to take it in stride and focus on the opponent staring at them across the field.

“We just got to take it one day at a time one game at a time,” Hopson said. “If you don’t you won’t accomplish anything.”