Alcorn&8217;s missed opportunities, turnovers hurt in loss to Hornets

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

LORMAN &8212; Missed opportunities and the hard running of Alabama State&8217;s Jay Peck would prove too much for the Alcorn State Braves Saturday afternoon in a 33-28 loss.

In a game filled with strange weather, strange special teams play and plenty of back-and-forth action, the Hornets would eventually walk out of Jack Spinks Stadium as winners.

Peck rushed for 196 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns in the win.

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&8220;It felt good to just take over a game like that,&8221; said Peck, who wasn&8217;t even slated for playing time following a poor performance in fall drills. &8220;I want to give credit to my offensive line because they made it easy for me to pick the holes. I was fresh and was ready to take over the game for us.&8221;

Alcorn quarterback Tony Hobson Jr.&8217;s struggles continued on the year, as he completed 7-of-18 passes for only 99 yards and threw an interception in the loss.

Trailing 33-21 early in the fourth quarter and with Alabama State driving, the Braves defense forced a 44-yard field goal attempt, which was blocked by Nick Brown, scooped up by Deshaun Lewis and returned 71 yards all the way to the Alabama State 24 yard line.

A play later, Hobson found Mareese Rose in the end zone for a spectacular grab and a touchdown to cut the Alabama State lead to five.

Moments later, a 48-yard punt return by Nate Hughes set up the Braves in Hornet territory again, but Alcorn turned the ball over on downs with 7:30 to go, never threatening again.

Alcorn head coach Johnny Thomas said the loss had been a painful one.

&8220;To be honest, it&8217;s very difficult to put into words what I said to the kids (after the game),&8221; Thomas said. &8220;When you see the pain on their face, and how hard they worked, there&8217;s certain things you need to do to keep them motivated, to keep things positive and uplifting. That&8217;s what I spoke to them.&8221;

Alcorn took the early lead when linebacker Lee Robinson scooped up a fumble on a bad snap and rumbled into the end zone from 22 yards out dragging a would-be Hornet tackler. Robinson had a superb defensive effort for the Braves, netting 12 tackles, half a sack and the fumble recovery.

Alabama State then added 20 unanswered points when Peck scored from six yards out late in the first, then added a 50-yard run late in the second. Alcorn fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which was returned for a touchdown by Alabama State&8217;s Chris Dupuy to give the Hornets a 20-7 lead.

Alcorn answered on its ensuing drive when Vernard Cooper, who rushed for 115 yards on 18 carries, scored from four yards out to cut the lead to six.

Alabama State&8217;s Desmond Foster returned the second half&8217;s opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to push the Hornet lead to 12.

Freshman quarterback Chris Walker entered the game for Alcorn and led the Braves on a scoring drive on their next possession. Walker finished 1-of-5 passing for 13 yards.

Despite the subpar performance of Hobson, Thomas said there was no quarterback controversy brewing.

&8220;Our quarterback started a slight decline around the Alabama A&M game last year,&8221; Thomas said, referring to Hobson. &8220;We were hoping it was just from him being a freshman, but it has continued this year. We don&8217;t have a controversy. We&8217;re going to play the best guy that gets the results.&8221;

Alcorn will travel to Los Angeles to face Morehouse next weekend.