Back on track

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

BATON ROUGE &045; Getting backed into a corner with no room to wiggle is a good thing.

When you’ve got enough fight in you to bounce back in a tight situation in hostile territory, things can happen. The Alcorn State Braves were perhaps down to a final breath here in their eighth game, but they answered with a 36-34 upset of 14th-ranked Southern Saturday night at A.W. Mumford Stadium in a statement to the Southwestern Athletic Conference that they’re still in this thing.

And with Alabama State and Jackson State losing Saturday, it’s a whole new day in Lorman today.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;It feels good because we came in here and beat a team that was supposedly better than us and undefeated,&uot; said Alcorn quarterback Donald Carrie, who threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. &uot;I think everybody came out and played with a lot of heart tonight, and we came out with the win.&uot;

Carrie and the Braves were without question their most efficient on offense so far this season tallying 506 yards total offense without a turnover. That’s been the biggest problem facing the team that came in an awfully dangerous 2-5 but was fading in the race for the SWAC’s Eastern Division title with a 1-2 mark.

The offense executed on almost every drive and got a key score with 40 seconds left in the game when Carrie hit freshman Charlie Spiller for the game-winning score.

&uot;That was so nice &045; no turnovers,&uot; Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said. &uot;He (Carrie) maintained his poise and was competitive. He made things happen tonight &045; he really did. We should have lost only one ball game (this season), but we can’t think about that right now. We didn’t make many mistakes, but we didn’t turn the ball over.&uot;

Carrie was the star of the game, and his pass to Spiller at the end culminated a late threat where the Braves continued to convert on third down. On a third-and-10 situation at the Southern 24, Carrie rolled out and was nearly sacked before he broke away and kept his feet under him.

He then hit Woodville native Spiller in the back of the end zone, and Spiller got both feet down in the end zone for the touchdown with 40 seconds left.

&uot;I ran a route across the field, and then he threw the ball up,&uot; Spiller said. &uot;I went got it. I had to keep my feet in bounds, and I did. (A defender) was on me, but I had to break away from him and get the ball.&uot;

The score was the biggest conversion on third down for the Braves, who converted on one third down earlier in the drive and on three straight third downs on the drive prior when the Braves scored to take a 30-27 lead.

On the final drive Carrie hit Kelvin Clark on third and 10 to get to the 43, and Carrie later kept it on a 14-yard run to get past midfield. He then hit Corvin Johnson on a 15-yard pass to get to the 24.

&uot;We made a lot of mistakes, especially on defense,&uot; Southern head coach Pete Richardson said. &uot;But I’ve got to give them an A for effort. We just didn’t make the plays when we had to make them. We missed a lot of tackles, even in the first half.&uot;

Alcorn took the 30-27 lead when Carrie hit Clark on a 26-yard pass with 5:46 left, but the Jaguars answered right back when a 40-yard pass from Quincy Richard to Lionel Joseph got them to the Alcorn 22.

A 2-yard run from Kenneth Peoples got the Jaguars to the Alcorn 1 on fourth down, but Richard forced his way in on a keeper for a touchdown with 3:08 left to give the Jaguars a 34-30 lead.

&uot;We took a chance and wanted to put pressure on the quarterback,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;They got some big plays off of that. We didn’t think he (Richard) got in on that last play. It was a questionable call, but it didn’t affect us at all. We came back and moved the football.&uot;

The Braves’ defense came up with probably its biggest stop of the game midway through the second quarter when the Jaguars slowed things down and went to clock control. Starting from their own 10, the Jaguars went 20 plays for 88 yards before a fourth-and-goal situation at the Alcorn 2.

Richard rolled out to his left and had to throw before getting hit by linebacker Dwan Wilson, but Alcorn safety Tim Batts knocked the pass down to end the drive.

The Braves used the big play to get on the board twice in an explosive first quarter. Carrie hit Charlie Spiller on a 61-yard bomb just 2:20 into the game. That came after Southern got a 24-yard TD run from Richard 58 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

After holding Southern to a field goal, the Braves used another big play to take the lead. Carrie hit Nate Hughes on a 39-yard TD pass after Southern was called for pass interference the previous play for a 14-10 Alcorn lead.