Braves play flawlessly in PVU thumping

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

LORMAN &045; Finally.

Four weeks of shooting themselves in the foot, causing their own mistakes and watching other teams take advantage of them finally came to an end for Alcorn State. Not that anyone was angry or frustrated, but the Braves knew they were better than their 1-4 record and things would come together soon.

Enter struggling Prairie View A&M, and the Braves exited Jack Spinks Stadium with a 66-0 win Saturday night.

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&uot;Everything was working,&uot; said senior receiver Corvin Johnson, who had six catches for 65 yards and one score. &uot;We’ve been stressing that all week, and that’s how we’ve been losing &045; turnovers and penalties. We’ve been trying to correct that. We knew if we did things right we would win. We knew what we could do, and there was no use panicking.&uot;

But as far as the Braves are concerned, never mind the fact that the rebounding win came against the cupcake of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in PVU. When you continue beating yourself for four straight weeks, it really doesn’t matter who you play as long as you execute well offensively and defensively.

The Braves finished the game with 598 yards offense, including 393 yards rushing, and held the Panthers to 140 yards total offense. Prairie View didn’t get a first down until less than a minute left in the first half, and the Panthers didn’t cross midfield the entire first half.

The Braves had a 45-0 lead at the break and didn’t have a turnover until the reserves came in at the start of the fourth quarter.

&uot;We executed flawlessly,&uot; Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said. &uot;I hope this is something we can carry over to the remainder of our games. I was telling the guys all week we’re putting everything behind us. We’re still in the hunt. I call it task analysis &045; you start with the least difficult task and work up to the bigger tasks. We’re taking it one baby step at a time.&uot;

Much of the credit goes to the offense, who for the first time in five games finished on the positive side in the turnover column. The Braves had just one fumble, coming in the fourth quarter, and forced two interceptions and three fumbles to help set up scores.

None was bigger than the fumble defensive linemen Eric Roach came up with at the start of the game after Alcorn was held to a field goal on its first drive. Roach recovered a fumble by Prairie View’s Mark Spivey and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown for a quick 10-0 lead

Three of the four remaining turnovers helped create scores for the Braves, including Tyrone Parsons’ 25-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 3:51 left in the third quarter for a 59-0 lead.

&uot;That (Roach’s score) was the turnover that got things going,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;Unfortunately, that’s how people have been beating us in the last four ball games. We finally turned it around and were able to get a turnover or two that ignited the spark we needed to jumpstart our ball team.&uot;

When the Panthers didn’t turn it over, however, the offense was still able to execute well. The Braves used the passing game and the running game to move the football throughout the contest, even on the drive that ended in a McConnell 26-yard field goal with 8:43 left in the first for the first score.

Andrew Burks and Sidney Dumas &045; each authors of over 100 yards &045; got key runs to set up scores, including a 22-yard run from Burks to set up a 11-yard TD pass from Donald Carrie to Johnson for a score with 4:45 left in the first.

After the Panthers punted on their next drive, Carrie hit Woodville native Charlie Spiller on a 50-yard pass on the first play to set up a 2-yard run from Robert Lester for a 24-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the first.

&uot;Coming into this week, we said we wanted to build off last week’s game,&uot; Carrie said. &uot;Even though we didn’t win, we played well offensively. The offensive line made everything capable. Without the line doing their job, we wouldn’t be where we are.&uot;

Taurian Parks then picked off a Spivey pass to set on the first play of the second quarter to give the Braves the ball at the PV 38, and a 13-yard run from Burks set up his 1-yard scoring run with 13:11 left for a 31-0 lead.

Then the Braves put together their best drive of the game after fielding a Prairie View punt at their own 9. Fourteen plays later at the Prairie View 12 Dumas made a run to the left, broke a couple tackles and went almost horizontal to get to the end zone to put the lead at 38-0 with 5:43 left.