Alcorn State runs wild over Alabama A&M

Published 9:35 pm Saturday, November 4, 2017

LORMAN (AP) — Alcorn State ran on, over and through Alabama A&M on Saturday. There were probably a few other directions mixed in there as well.

P.J. Simmons ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns and was part of a trio of rushers topping 100 yards as Alcorn State led throughout in its 47-22 win at Jack Spinks Stadium.

Quarterback Noah Johnson had seven carries for a career-high 124 yards and two touchdowns, and De’Lance Turner had 11 rushes for 113 yards and a score. The three combined for 410 yards on 27 carries to average 15.2 yards per attempt. Johnson also threw for 74 yards.

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Alcorn finished with 416 rushing yards as a team, its highest single-game total since 2015.

“We played a pretty decent ballgame and rushed the ball well,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “We kind of sputtered there in the first half but Corey (McCullough) kept us in the ball game with his field goals. Then, we began to score touchdowns with our legs. P.J. did a great job for us today.”

McCullough kicked four field goals for Alcorn (5-3, 4-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) to break the single-season school record with 14. The previous record was 13 set by Wilfredo Rosales in 1980 and David McConnell in 2003.

McCullough hit from 39, 38, 37 and 24 yards to finish one field goal short of the single-game record set by Rosales in 1980. McCullough also averaged 51.5 yards on six punts.

“With the record being talked about a lot lately, every time I go up my mentality is to go one-for-one. As long as I have people blocking for me, I’m going to go out there and do my best to make it,” McCullough said.

All of McCullough’s field goals came in the first half to help Alcorn creep out to a 19-10 lead. Then, in the second half, the running game got going.

Johnson ran for touchdowns of 69 and 16 yards, and Simmons had a 43-yard jaunt as the Braves scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 40-13 lead.

Simmons also had a 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“(Simmons) showed patience in hitting the hole. His speed and acceleration in the open field was the biggest thing,” McNair said. “One negative is understanding where the goal line is to avoid a safety and a little less dancing. He’s going to get better every week.”

Turner scored on a 51-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the Braves a 47-15 lead. He needs needs 279 more yards to break the single-season school rushing record of 1,286 set by Rodney Thomas in 1998.

Turner entered the game ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing yardage.
Jordan Bentley had 16 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown for Alabama A&M (3-6, 3-2). Isaiah Bailey caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.