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Braves look forward to hosting JSU

lorman — Alcorn State University got the announcement out of the way Tuesday. Now, the school and its football program will try to work out the logistics of hosting its biggest game of the season in a stadium approximately one-third the size of where it has been played for 18 seasons.

Alcorn State announced that it would host rival Jackson State in Lorman this season instead of playing the contest in Jackson.

The past nine seasons the Capital City Classic has drawn an average of approximately 34,000 people. Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium on the campus of Alcorn has a capacity of 22,500, but Interim Director for Intercollegiate Athletics Dwayne White said he does not expect the school to have any issues hosting this year’s game.

“We are actually in the process of preparing for the upcoming games now,” White said. “We set up a committee to look into moving (the game) forward. I don’t think it will be a problem for us at all.”

White said hosting the game is a great opportunity for Alcorn and its community.

“I think we’ll be fine, and we look forward to the opportunity of serving the community and making (the Jackson State game) a great event and a great opportunity for Natchez, Vicksburg and the overall region.”

White said Alcorn is being proactive in planning ahead for logistical issues like seating, parking and traffic control for the Jackson State game.

“This is just my fourth week here (as interim director of athletics), so I’m still in the process of learning a lot of things and understanding the issues,” he said. “But we have a study group to approach the (parking) situation, and we are constantly making improvements. I have heard a lot of complaints as well as people saying things are great, and we are taking all that into account.”

First-year head coach Jay Hopson said he does not know much about the logistics of the game, but he hopes there will be no empty seats when Alcorn faces Jackson State in November. Hopson said the game would be a huge benefit for the Alcorn program.

White was also optimistic about the impact bringing the game to Lorman will have on the university.

“I think it will do a great deal for our program, and not just the football program but for the Alcorn community in general,” White said. “We talked about how much of a shame it was that people from Jackson had never had the chance to come see our campus. It can’t do anything but help us with student enrollment, recruiting and everything else. We want to have everyone there and welcome them to the reservation.”

Despite losing this year’s game to Lorman, the Jackson State athletic department expressed its understanding of Alcorn’s move in a statement released by Athletic Media Relations Director Wesley Peterson.

“We respect Alcorn State’s decision to move the Nov. 17 football game to its home stadium in Lorman. We look forward to the JSU Tiger nation traveling in force to Casem-Spinks Stadium.”

In addition to the Jackson State game, Alcorn will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Alabama State, Southern University and Texas Southern this season.