Mississippi roundup: Alcorn clinches division title, MC beats Delta State

Published 11:39 pm Saturday, November 16, 2019

LORMAN (AP) — Alcorn has successfully defended one championship, and now will get an opportunity to go for two.

Felix Harper threw four touchdown passes — three to LeCharles Pringle — and their 44-yard TD connection proved the difference in Alcorn’s 34-28 win over Alabama A&M on Saturday.

Alcorn (7-3, 5-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) clinched its sixth consecutive SWAC East Division title and a spot in the conference championship game on Dec. 7.

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Alcorn finishes the regular season next Saturday, on the road at Jackson State, and can clinch home field advantage for the championship game with a victory.

The six straight division titles are a SWAC record. Alcorn has won three conference titles during its run, including last season.

“That’s a testament to this whole team and coaching staff the way they came into this season with the attitude of winning a sixth division title,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “It’s something we focused on during the course of camp. We talked about getting back to the Celebration Bowl and the SWAC Championship, this was a stride we needed to make and win the East Division title to get to those points. The team fought hard today and overcame a lot of adversity.”

The 44-yard TD from Harper to Pringle with 11:44 remaining marked the Braves’ second lead of the game. They went up 27-21 when Harper threw a 42-yard TD pass to Raidarious Anderson with 9:27 left in the third.

Prior to that the Bulldogs (6-5, 3-3) were in control.

Alabama A&M outgained the Braves 531-522 in total yards and held the time of possession advantage 32:32-27:28. The Bulldogs were also 7-of-14 on third-down conversions to 4-of-10 for Alcorn State.

Alabama A&M had a chance to win it at the end, too. It reached Alcorn’s 14-yard line with four seconds left. The game ended on an illegal touching penalty after the intended receiver stepped out of bounds in the back of the endzone, came back in, and was the first to touch the ball.

“It’s always great to step up in those situations, but as a defense we can’t put ourselves in that situation. We got to take care of business in the first three quarters so it doesn’t get down to the last drive and the last play,” said Alcorn defensive back Juwan Taylor, who had 10 tackles and an interception.

Harper was 18-of-27 passing for 288 yards, Pringle had four receptions for 113 yards and Niko Duffey had 17 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Jordan Bentley for the Bulldogs had 245 yards rushing on 29 carries and scored four times.

Southern U. 40, Jackson State 34
Ladarius Skelton ran for three touchdowns and threw for another score, and Southern University held off Jackson State on Saturday.

Skelton completed 12 of 23 passes for 133 yards that included a 6-yard TD pass to Hunter Register. Skelton added 182 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Jalon Jones threw for 224 yards and four touchdowns and had 131 yards rushing to lead Jackson State. Keshawn Harper ran for 214 yards on 22 carries.

Jackson State led 24-17 at halftime, but a safety and Skelton’s 22-yard scoring run gave Southern a 26-24 lead. Zach Gleaton kicked a 25-yard field goal for Jackson State, but Southern returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and a 33-27 lead.

Skelton’s 7-yard touchdown run with 6:24 remaining stretched Southern’s lead to 40-27.

Southern (7-4, 5-1 SWAC) has won six of its last seven games while Jackson State (4-7, 3-3) has lost its last two following a three-game win streak.

Southern is in first place in the SWAC’s West Division and can clinch a spot in the conference championship game by beating Grambling in the annual Bayou Classic game in New Orleans on Nov. 30.

Grambling 40, Mississippi Valley State 0
Charles Wright threw for two touchdowns, Kevin Dominique ran for 131 yards and a score, and Grambling State defeated Mississippi Valley State for its sixth consecutive victory.

Wright threw first quarter touchdown passes to De’Vante Davis of 27 yards and Dequarius Thomas for 25 yards and the Tigers (6-4, 4-2 SWAC) never looked back.

Grambling outgained the Delta Devils (2-8, 1-5) in total yards 521-134, while the defense had six sacks and had two fumble recoveries.

Mississippi College 37, Delta State 13
Mississippi College quarterback Detric Hawthorn ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and threw a TD pass as the Choctaws (5-5, 4-4 Gulf South Conference) beat in-state rival Delta State (6-4, 5-3) for the first time since 1993.

Mississippi College ran for 232 yards and only threw six passes in the game. Defensive back Derric Hawthorn had 14 tackles and returned a fumble 97 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to give the Choctaws a 37-6 lead.

Delta State had won seven in a row against the Choctaws, and still leads the all-time series 22-16-2.

Mississippi College finished the season with its first record of .500 or better since 2009, and was undefeated at home for the first time since 1988.

Howard Payne 17, Belhaven 3
Belhaven outgained Howard Payne 422 yards to 201, but committed five turnovers and lost its season finale on Saturday.

Howard Payne’s Conner Day returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Yellow Jackets’ only offensive points came on a 43-yard field goal by Blake Phipps and a 4-yard pass from Nick Stolt to DunTayviun Gross.

Belhaven quarterback Hunter McEachern was 15-of-34 passing for 216 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. The Blazers (2-8, 2-7 American Southwest Conference) also ran for 201 yards.

Birmingham-Southern 30, Millsaps 20
Robert Shufford ran for 247 yards and a touchdown to lead Birmingham-Southern (7-3, 6-2 Southern Athletic Association) past Millsaps College (5-5, 3-5).

Justin Robertson also ran for two touchdowns for Bimringham-Southern, which built a 30-7 lead before Millsaps scored two late touchdowns.

Millsaps quarterback Amryn Jeffrey was 13-of-31 passing for 168 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

Millsaps lost five of its last seven games after a 3-0 start to the season.