Thomas: ASU to ‘pump up the heat’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

LORMAN &045; The slate is wiped clean once again.

Alcorn State’s Braves couldn’t right their ship Saturday night in a 31-20 loss at Division II Fort Valley State. More of the same problems haunted them throughout the contest &045; turnovers, bad breaks &045; while some penalties here and there just kept them from leading on the scoreboard after outgaining the Wildcats by over 100 yards.

It was the fourth straight Saturday of frustration for the Braves, who can’t seem to kick the habit of being their own worst enemy heading into Saturday’s home game against Prairie View A&M.;

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&uot;We’ve been a team that has self-destructed and inhibited ourselves from winning,&uot; Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said on Monday. &uot;It’s not based on teams beating us, but it’s based on other teams being able to take advantage of our miscues. We scored a touchdown, had it called back for holding. We scored a touchdown, had it called back for not being lined up right. We had the other team third and 10, and we had an unsportsmanlike penalty.&uot;

Give the offense partial credit to racking up 429 yards total offense, 352 came courtesy of the passing game and 334 from Donald Carrie. But the turnovers and penalties kept them from leaving town a winner with three interceptions &045; all to Fort Valley DB Shelton Belton &045; and one fumble.

The Wildcats got a field goal and a touchdown off Alcorn turnovers, and Carrie had a pass picked off on the Braves’ final drive of the game before Fort Valley ran out the clock.

&uot;It’s the same things,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;Once we stop doing that, we can be an undefeated football team. That’s where we are. We’ll pump up the volume this week for our games against Prairie View. We hope we can continue to pump up the heat from now on.

&uot;We’re trying to correct this stuff. As long as we’re in the process of trying to correct this, we think we have a chance.&uot;

The Braves had their moments of shaking the blues at times early and moved the ball effectively through the air as senior wideout Corvin Johnson had six catches for 99 yards.

But to start the second half with Fort Valley holding a 10-7 lead, Andrew Burks fumbled with Fort Valley recovering at the ASU 23 to set up a score for a 17-7 lead.

The Braves got a field goal and a 38-yard touchdown pass from Carrie to Johnson to tie it up, but Derrick Winbush broke an 80-yard run for a touchdown to give Fort Valley a 24-17 lead. Winbush’s run was part of a 289-yard effort running the ball by the Wildcats, who have done it with the run so far this season.

The Braves were playing without standout linebacker Omega Logan, out with a knee sprain, but welcomed back linebacker Dwan Wilson, who hasn’t played since the Week 1.

The 289 yards rushing was the most surrendered by the Alcorn defense so far this season. Last week Stephen F. Austin posted 265 yards on the ground.

&uot;We had Omega Logan out, and that hurt us tremendously,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;He’s a catalyst for our football team. I don’t know. Certain things happen, and certain things don’t happen. You wonder why things happen. But we’ll see.&uot;

ASU’s ground game, meanwhile, struggled to get established The Braves finished with 69 yards on 29 carries.

&uot;To be a championship ball club, you have to run the ball,&uot; center Zephaniah Smalley said. &uot;We feel we have three of the top running backs in the conference. Once we get it going, there won’t be no stopping us. We’re just having trouble getting going right now. We’re just trying to get it going, and once we do that it’s going to be like lighting a match &045; we’re going to explode.&uot;