Comeback falls short as Alcorn drops fourth straight

Published 12:41 am Friday, October 22, 2010

LORMAN — It was do or die for Alcorn State quarterback Brandon Bridge Thursday night.

With his team down 39-35 and time running out, Bridge had successfully driven the ball 70 yards all the way to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3-yard line. A false start knocked them back five yards, but the Braves had gotten back to the 5-yard line with 44 seconds remaining.

It was fourth and goal, and Bridge had one shot to put his team up with less than a minute to play. The ball was snapped, and Bridge scanned the field for a few seconds before attempting to hit tight end Ryan Singleton with the winning play.

Email newsletter signup

But the Golden Lions would deny the Braves a win, as Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Jermaine Graham knocked the ball down, giving the Golden Lions a turnover on downs.

Arkansas Pine-Bluff then let time expire, improving its record to 4-3 overall, 3-2 in the SWAC. The Braves fell to 3-4 overall, 2-3 in SWAC play.

Braves head coach Earnest Collins said despite the game coming down to a last-minute stop, critical miscues earlier in the game are what ultimately lost it for the Braves.

“It came down to that but it wasn’t based on that,” Collins said. “Too many mistakes: special teams mistakes, turnovers… we’ve lost the last three games by 10, 10 and 4 (points).

“It’s not like we’re not competing and teams are blowing us out. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. Big plays, false starts. Little bitty stupid things.”

Alcorn led 35-27 heading into the fourth quarter, but two Golden Lion field goals and a late touchdown sealed the win for Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Chris Ewald nailed a 49-yard field goal with 14:46 in the fourth to cut the Alcorn lead 35-30. Later in the quarter, the Golden Lions scored a touchdown on Stephen Jones 10-yard run. Ewald added another field goal with 3:51 to go in the game from 42 yards out.

Alcorn struck first on its opening drive. Bridge burst forth on the opening play of the game for a 59-yard run all the way inside the Golden Lions 15. After getting a first down, Bridge punched it in from the 2 to give the Braves an early 7-0 lead.

The Golden Lions responded by scoring 27 unanswered points to put the Braves in a hole. Their first touchdown came with 3:41 to go in the first on an Adrian Moore 3-yard carry. Arkansas-Pine Bluff missed the extra point, making it 7-6 Braves.

In the second quarter, the Golden Lions’ James Harrell intercepted a pass from Bridge at the Alcorn 20, running it back to the 9-yard line. Moore then ran it in for his second touchdown of the game.

Moore added his third touchdown with a 3-yard run at the 9:04 mark in the second quarter.

Bridge threw his second interception of the night with 6:08 to go in the second. Harrell was the recipient again, and this time he took the ball 84 yards downfield for a Golden Lions touchdown, giving Arkansas-Pine Bluff a 27-7 lead.

The Braves began their comeback late in the first half when Gabriel Nash scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. In the third quarter, Alcorn continued its surge with 11:27 in the third on an Edward Johnson 7-yard touchdown catch.

Alcorn followed that up with another touchdown catch by Johnson, this time for 31 yards with 8:07 left in the third. Bridge scored a touchdown with 56 seconds left in the third on a 1-yard carry.

The Golden Lions’ last field goal came after Gyovanni Harvey intercepted Bridge on the Alcorn 39, which set up the field goal. Bridge finished the game 17 of 39 in passing for 271 yards, two touchdown passes and three interceptions.

“He didn’t get rattled. He just kept working and made some outstanding runs to get us down there in great position,” Collins said.

“(On the) last throw, if he throws it up and over, it’s a touchdown.”

Despite Alcorn’s four-game losing streak, Collins is remaining positive.

“We’re just going to keep fighting. That’s all we know how to do,” he said.