Alcorn gets contributions all over field in opener

Published 6:51 pm Sunday, September 3, 2017

By Emmalee Molay
The Natchez Democrat

LORMAN — Alcorn State coach Fred McNair doesn’t care how the job gets done, as long as it’s done.
The Braves climbed their way to an opening-game victory over Miles College on Saturday, 50-21, with scores coming on the ground, through the air and on special teams.

“That’s a part of the game plan. Every week we strive to do that as far as passing, running, special teams and playing great defense. We just try to do it to perfection every week,” McNair said.

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With effort coming from all directions, McNair noted he still sees one area that needs major improvement.
Alcorn committed 17 penalties for 166 yards.

“We just have to delete some of these penalties. We played a great ballgame without those,” McNair said. “If we execute the way we should without penalties, the outcome would be even better. Though, we are definitely happy about the win.”

Senior quarterback Lenorris Footman did the bulk of the work offensively for Alcorn during the first half, rushing for two touchdowns and passing for another. Footman was responsible for all but four of Alcorn’s 328 yards during the first two quarters, passing for 241 and rushing for 83. He found the end zone on runs of 14 and 6 yards.

“He’s come out as a leader. As he goes, this offense goes,” McNair said. “We talked about it as a coaching staff, and the things he can do with the football are electrifying.”

Just four seconds before halftime, Footman threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior running back De’Lance Turner to make it 24-7.

“That’s a 17-point swing we are talking about there,” McNair said. “Before halftime you get a chance to score, and after the half we receive the ball for another chance to score again. I think De’Lance did a great job on receiving the ball. Being able to catch the ball out of the backfield and what he can do with it after the catch just shows off his athleticism. We just keep building on it, and keep making it work.“

Miles College quickly regrouped to start the second half, as N’Ktavious Floyd intercepted Footman and returned it for a 42-yard touchdown.

On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, however, the Braves responded as Turner ran 88 yards to the end zone down the right side. He finished the game with 128 rushing yards on just eight carries. He also caught four passes for 38 yards and the one touchdown.

Footman ended with two interceptions, going 21-for-28 with 241 yards. He had 103 yards and two touchdowns rushing.

“On that interception, I wish he would have just held the ball. We would have gotten a lot more yards if he would have just ran it,” McNair said. “But, it was big to come back and respond. That’s what we always try to do.”

As Alcorn pulled away in the third quarter, Marquis Warford scored on a 72-yard punt return and P.J. Simmons added another long scoring run from 64 yards out.

Corey McCullough also made field goals from 45, 27 and 26 yards.

Though the defense didn’t score, Alcorn’s Damien Anderson, Trae Ferrell and Matthew Stewart each recovered fumbles. The Braves held Miles to 251 yards of offense, nearly half of which came on two plays — an 83-yard touchdown run by Justin Hardy in the first quarter, and a 47-yard TD pass from Li’Jon Cordier to Leonard Tyree in the fourth.

“On behalf of Braves football, we try and put a brand on what we do,” McNair said. “What can I say, (Miles) Coach (Reginald) Ruffin brought a pretty good team here. I feel like they played a hard-fought ball game.”

Alcorn (1-0) is set to travel to Miami next week to take on Florida International University at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.