Passing SLU visits Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

HAMMOND, La. &045; Here is Hal Mumme, the gunslinger coach trying to get the most he can out of the little hand he’s been dealt.

Not that it’s a surprise to anyone. The coach who led Kentucky to its highest level of prominence is doing his best along with his staff to do well at Southeastern Louisiana in its first season of football since 1985.

Armed with 44 freshmen and sophomores, the Lions are 3-5 coming into Saturday’s game at Alcorn State

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fresh off a disappointing 33-27 loss at St. Mary’s of California last week.

&uot;We had a long road trip with a bunch of freshmen,&uot; said Mumme, whose club will look for its first win over a Division I opponent Saturday at Jack Spinks Stadium. &uot;We had an interception returned for a touchdown, got stripped of the ball and they ran it back for a touchdown. We dropped one in the end zone that could have beat en them. We had a pretty good afternoon other than that.&uot;

The Lions were the first team St. Mary’s, a Division I independent, beat this year, although the Lions out-gained them offensively. The loss was the fifth for them against a Division I opponent, including a bizarre 87-27 defeat at Northwestern State two weeks ago.

But it’s the offense and quarterback Martin Hankins people are starting to take note of.

&uot;It’s a struggle, but three-fourths of our team wasn’t here in the spring,&uot; Mumme said. &uot;If you look at the game we’ve lost, we’ve played on one side of the ball and not the other. We’ve have four games where we’ve played well, but we didn’t win one of them. But our quarterback has thrown a lot more touchdowns than interceptions.&uot;

Hankins is a true freshman from Hattiesburg High, and last October he threw for 253 yards in the Tigers’ 54-14 road win over Natchez High. He started camp as the backup behind Seth Babin but worked his way into the starting role and now has 242 completions on 436 attempts &045; both being the most in I-AA &045;with 16 interceptions and 20 touchdowns so far this season.

In the loss at St. Mary’s he completed 31 of 49 for 315 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

&uot;He’s doing OK for a guy learning on the run,&uot; Mumme said. &uot;Chris Leak at Florida is new, but the guys around him have all played last year. Martin is a true freshman and out there playing with a team that last year didn’t know each others’ names. He’s really an intelligent player and has a quick release. I think he’ll be a great quarterback.&uot;

The Lions’ penchant for throwing the ball and not running it is evident in the game films, Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said. The Braves’ secondary will get tested the most this season since Grambling’s Bruce Eugene threw for 311 yards back in the second game of the season.

&uot;They love to throw the football,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;I think in the three films we looked at they ran the football only 10 times. I haven’t looked at their defense yet, but they’ve got pretty good special teams. They throw the football well.&uot;

When the Braves are hot offensively, they can throw the football well, too. Junior quarterback Donald Carrie threw for a career-high 379 yards in Saturday’s 36-34 upset win at Southern. The effort earned Carrie the honor of National Offensive Player of the Week in I-AA by The Sports Network.

&uot;They played lights-out in that deal,&uot; Mumme said. &uot;Coach Thomas is doing a great job up there. They really played well last week and probably lost a couple of games earlier when they played well. Their quarterback had a real huge game last week and is certainly

a great player, but you can’t ignore the running game, either. They do a pretty good job of balancing out.&uot;

ALCORN NOTES &045; Senior running back Sidney Dumas didn’t make the trip Saturday to Baton Rouge, and Thomas said he won’t play Saturday against SLU. Thomas declined to discuss the matter but said Dumas will return for the Valley game Š Saturday’s game was a reunion of sorts for Spiller and punter Shane Phillips. Spiller, a native of Woodville, caught up with Jaguars Tremaine Johnson and Mark Frederick, both Woodville natives who have seen limited action this season. Phillips, an Australian native who also plays baseball at ASU, had his parents in attendance for the first time. Neil and Wanda Phillips attended a number of baseball games back in the spring on a prior visit, but they witnessed their first American football game Saturday.