ASU sits at 0-3 as they travel to Alabama State

Published 11:15 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

LORMAN – Alcorn State coach Johnny Thomas leaves no doubt that this Saturday’s contest at SWAC rival Alabama State will be the biggest game of his young team’s season.

The Braves (0-3) travel to Alabama State (3-0) in desperate need of a win. Game time has been set for 7:00 Saturday night in Montgomery.

“This is a game that is going to define our season,” said Thomas. “It’s a pivotal game for us.”

Email newsletter signup

Alabama State, coached by former NFL standout Reggie Barlow will be looking to stay undefeated. The Hornets pulled off a last second win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff last week 12-10, off a 4th and goal, 10-yard pass from QB Chris Mitchell to Fred Ragsdale as time expired.

Mitchell, a 6-3, 205-pound junior was named SWAC Newcomer of the Week following his performance last week. He is a transfer out of East Mississippi Community College.

“They (Alabama State) are a talented team, that is well coached,” added Thomas. “They have a lot of good players and a very good running back in Jay Peck.”

Peck, a 5-11, 200-pound senior collected SWAC Offensive Player of the Week honors this week for his breakout performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff last Saturday. Peck carried the ball 35 times for 146 yards.

“He’s really good,” said Thomas. “He runs hard.”

Alcorn State has lost to Alabama State the last three seasons. The Braves lost to UAB last week 22-0.

“We really need this game,” continued Thomas. “This will be our third conference game of the season.”

Barlow, who spent 8 seasons in the NFL (Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville) as a wide receiver/punt returner, still holds several records at Alabama State for receptions and yards. Barlow played on the Super Bowl XXXVII World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers team in 2003 as a receiver. This is his first season as head coach of the Hornets, replacing former Alabama State coach Charles Coe in March.

Coe left the Hornets for a position on the Oakland Raiders coaching staff. Alabama State is off to their best start since 2004, when they collected the SWAC Championship.

“I expect a good game,” said Thomas. “Both teams will be battling hard.”