Alcorn heads out to Prairie View

Published 8:55 am Friday, November 4, 2016

Alcorn State’s two game winning streak came to an end last week at the hands of Southern University, and now the Braves are hitting the road for the next two weeks with the hopes of getting back on track.

The Braves (3-4, 3-3 Southwestern Athletic Conference) start their road trip in Texas, against Prairie View A&M (5-3, 5-1) on Saturday afternoon. The two-time defending SWAC champions still control their path to a third straight East Division title, and it goes through a Prairie View team that is trying keep pace with Grambling and Southern in the West Division.

“Just like any other week we just have to prepare for it, to try to go out and win a ballgame. We’re going to play another good team in Prairie View in Texas. They’ll be at home, and they’ll be biting at the bit too. Like I tell everybody, you’re going to get everybody’s best shot if you’re the Alcorn Braves,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “We’ve just got to prepare as we’ve been preparing and hopefully do a little bit more to overcome these mistakes we’re making. We’re just making too many mistakes right now.”

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Last week the Braves were coming off their bye week after a homecoming win against Texas Southern when they met Southern University, which came north to Mississippi with a large crowd in tow.

McNair said coming off a bye week should not have had a negative effect on his team. The week after a bye is typically a positive moment for because players have had time to heal and work on their weaknesses.
It didn’t work out that way. Southern got out to a three-touchdown lead early in the second half and won 41-33.

“That’s to our advantage I think, anytime you have a bye week to get everybody healed up and work on things that you need to work on fundamentals wise, especially tackling and ball security. We worked on that and obviously that didn’t work so we’ve just got to get better at it,” McNair said.

Alcorn quarterback Lenorris Footman had a career-high 300 yards on 25-of-44 passing, while also running for 146 yards against Southern. He had three passing and three rushing touchdowns, and showed flashes of the explosive player the Braves need him to be to compete for the conference title.

“I think he’s a dynamic quarterback. Lenorris knows the sky is the limit for him and the way he plays. Just coming back off that injury he had and played exceptionally well (Saturday). He’s a great leader for us on offense,” McNair said, referring to Footman’s ankle injury earlier in the season and a sore shoulder from the homecoming game against Texas Southern.

However, Footman also turned the ball over four times with two fumbles and two interceptions, which spelled disaster for the team.

“Any time you have four turnovers in a football game it’s always big. We can’t win like that,” McNair said.

The coach was also disappointed in the amount of penalties the Braves racked up — nine for 63 yards. He was concerned with a few questionable calls by referees during the game like a block in the back on the defense. McNair defended his players and said he just wanted an explanation when it came to certain calls.

“Just like a father to a son, you’re going to take up for your own,” McNair said.

He said the team would continue to work hard and improve each week going into the final three games of the regular season. After playing Prairie View, Alcorn is on the road at winless Mississippi Valley State and then home against Jackson State in a game that should determine the East Division championship.

“We’ve just got to keep building and getting more successful things done on the offensive side of the ball to push us over the edge. We’ll get better next week,” McNair said.