Alcorn State loses on Senior Day after tying game in fourth quarter

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lorman — It’s starting to sound like a broken record.

Alcorn State had a chance to win against Alabama State on Saturday, but the Braves couldn’t pull through, losing 24-17.

Once again Alcorn State came from behind to tie up the game at 17 as Davaris Pilcher scored a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Email newsletter signup

But once again, the Braves defense failed to hold its opponent, allowing the Hornets to score on a 15-yard run by Rahmod Traylor with 19 seconds left in the game.

The Hornets had completed a 36-yard pass downfield to the 22-yard line just two plays earlier, allowing Traylor to rush twice to get into the end zone.

“They threw a ball down there deep on our best cornerback (Roderick Williams),” said Alcorn State coach Ernest Jones. “The guy made a heck of a catch, and then we missed a tackle for the touchdown.”

Jones said he was not quite expecting that score.

“I was just getting myself ready for overtime,” he said. “I was trying to get the game plan together, you know? We felt like we could score on them — we just needed to be out there.”

But missed tackles seemed to be the Braves’ downfall all afternoon, especially against Traylor.

The running back had 21 carries for 110 yards, including all three of Alabama State’s touchdowns.

“He ran the ball at us hard, and he made it difficult for us,” Jones said. “We were missing tackles on the guy. We got to tackle guys — we have to tackle them to the ground.”

The Braves also missed several tackles on quarterback Anthony Speight, who completed 23-of-32 passes for 177 yards.

He was never sacked.

“Unfortunately those missed tackles came at times that bad things happened,” Jones said. “You can’t miss tackles, not as a defense. We’ve got to fix that.”

Alcorn got its chance to overtake Alabama State in the fourth when the Hornets had a bad punt snap that flew over Jake King’s head.

The ball bounced into the end zone, and there was a penalty flag. Jones had a choice between taking a safety and kicking off or takeing the ball at the 4-yard line, half the distance to the goal from the penalty marker.

Jones chose to take the penalty, and the Braves scored two plays later as Pilcher leapt over a pile of players.

“I didn’t want the safety,” Jones said. “I felt like we could score and tie the ballgame up. We wanted to get them off the field and play overtime.”

While they were successful and had an opportunity to win yet again, the Braves just couldn’t pull through.

That has been Alcorn State’s trouble all season, and Jones said he’s tired of seeing it happen.

“We’ve got to get over this hump. We got to win,” he said. “It’s not about being in the game and being right there at the end, it’s about winning the football game. We’ve got to first believe that we can win. There has to be no doubt in your mind that you can win. Then you have to play to win so that we can actually win.”

Pilcher recored 71 yards on 13 carries for the Braves, and quarterback Tim Buckley added 57 yards on 17 keeps.

Buckley completed 13-of-27 passes for 183 yards, but was sacked three times.

Alcorn has a weekend off before traveling to take on Prairie View A&M (6-1) outside Houston.

As always, Jones will give his team a 24-hour cooling off period.

“We’ll give them a day off and let them rest their bones,” he said. “We’ve had a long season. We’ve played 10 straight weeks without a break, and some teams in this league have had two breaks.”