|Alcorn State's Darryan Ragsdale rushes for some of his 173 yards Thursday. (Photo by SWAC.org)|
No one in the Southwestern Athletic Conference has been able to slow down Alcorn State. Now count Alabama State in that group.
The SWAC's top offense and defense outscored and shutdown visiting Alabama State 33-7 Thursday for their first win since 2010 in their series.
Darryan Ragsdale rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns for Alcorn State (5-1, 3-0 SWAC). His first touchdown was part of the Braves 17 point first quarter, which essentially put the game out of reach early.
On defense, the Alcorn State defense was stout as they forced punts on six of seven Alabama State (4-2, 3-1 SWAC) drives in the first half, the exception only being the Hornets drive that ended as the half ended. For the entire game, Alcorn State forced punts on ten of 13 Alabama State drives and only allowed 253 yards of offense to the Hornets. Alabama State was 0 for 13 on third down conversions.
The Braves held the SWAC's second best rushing offense and total offense to only 56 yards rushing. Alabama State had rushed for 232 yards a game this season. The conference's leading rusher, Alabama State's Malcolm Cyrus, was held to 65 yards rushing and a touchdown after he averaged 144 yards a game so far this season.
"I thought we played physical today," said Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson told The Vicksburg Post. "I thought we had good gap integrity. I thought we tackled well. That's how you have to shut down a good running attack and that's what we did."
Midway through the third quarter, Cyrus scored on a one-yard plunge to pull the Hornets to 20-7. But ASU quarterback John Gibbs Jr. countered with a 53-yard TD run followed by Ragsdale's second touchdown to keep the game out of reach.
Gibbs finished with 106 yards rushing to go with his efficient 217 yard passing day as Alcorn State rolled up 608 yards of offense.
"They had a little more energy and played with a little more effort than us," Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow told the Montgomery Advertiser. "They've got a quality team and a quality system that they run. We just didn't have it today. We didn't play very well, we didn't play with the energy we needed to play with, away from home, on the road against a really good team. But it's a very good learning lesson for us. You have to be ready to play and can't have an off day on game day."
Alcorn State hits the road to play a surging Grambling team next week while Alabama State visits Prairie View A&M.