Thursday, September 18, 2014

Alabama State Rushes Into SWAC Clash With Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Malcolm Cyrus runs past Mississippi Valley State.  (photo by David Campbell/ASU web site)
 You’re not imagining things if tonight’s game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff seems to be a rush for Alabama State.

The Hornets, who are home in front of an ESPNU audience tonight, only have had four days since their 47-22 win over Mississippi Valley State, so with only three days of practice, things have been pushed up quite a bit this week.

“Obviously you don’t get a couple of extra days to prepare,” said Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow.  “Just playing Saturday you have to give the guys a couple of days to recover so you don’t want your practices to be as physical because they have not had enough days to recover.”

But the Alabama State running game is good for head coach Reggie Barlow to lean on.  They’ve rushed for nearly 260 yards a game this season, getting better and better each time out during a nice 2-1 campaign so far.   That campaign includes a win over defense-minded FCS power Tennessee State.

Led by Malcolm Cyrus and his 141 yards a game, the Hornets have rushed for 141, 340 and 376 yards in three games this season.

That’s bad news for a UAPB defense that has been up and down in two games this season.  UAPB was routed by Texas State 65-0 in their season opener and then overwhelmed Concordia 31-0 two weeks ago.  UAPB was off last week.

“I told our team this is the most important game of the season, which it is,” UAPB head coach Monte Coleman told the Pine Bluff Commercial.  “It’s our game this week.  Of course, next will be the most important game of the season, also.  It’s a game we want to win, need to win.  We don’t want to go down 0-1 in the SWAC.  We want to start 1-0 in the SWAC because those are the games that really count.”

The Lions are led by the reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Benjamin Anderson.  He has continued his offensive ways as he is among the conference’s total offense leaders so far this season.

Anderson also realizes the importance of this early season game.

“We just kind of analyzed ourselves,” Anderson said of their off week.  “It’s a great time to see where we are leading to our first conference game.”

Kickoff in The New ASU Stadium is at 6:30 a.m. local time.

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