Alcorn looks to end season with win over rivals

Published 1:12 am Saturday, November 20, 2010

LORMAN — Alcorn State might not be playing for a SWAC East division championship today, but the Braves are playing for something almost as important — pride.

The Braves will travel to Jackson to take on arch-rival Jackson State in the annual Capital City Classic at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.

Even though both teams were eliminated from the division championship race last week, both teams will be looking for bragging rights in the annual SWAC showdown.

Email newsletter signup

Alcorn State head coach Earnest Collins said a victory over its rival is also important due to the recruiting ramifications.

“It is very important to beat them whether it’s at the beginning of the season, the middle or the end,” Collins said. “Winning is important due to the recruiting war that goes on after the season is over, besides this being a big rivalry.”

Alcorn defeated the Tigers 14-7 last season, and Collins said his players are looking to start a winning streak

“Oh yes, they are ready,” Collins said. “We want to beat them two straight years and (Jackson State) wants to get that trophy back. Everybody is ready.”

Alcorn State brings a 5-5 overall record and 4-4 SWAC record into the contest while Jackson State sits at 7-3 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

The Braves lost a 35-27 heartbreaker to Prairie View last week while the Tigers blew out Arkansas-Pine Bluff 52-30.

Jackson State’s offense has been clicking on all cylinders for most of the season behind quarterback Casey Therriault.

The junior college transfer has completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards and 29 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

“Their quarterback is playing better and he’s in his comfort zone,” Collins said of Therriault. “We will have to put pressure on him and mix it up, making him wonder what defense he will get.”

But Collins said the Braves defense can’t just key on Therriault. They also have to watch out for the Tigers’ improved running game.

“In their game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, I believe they rushed for over 200 yards,” Collins said. “They have gotten better as the season has progressed.”

Alcorn will counter with a good quarterback of their own in freshman Brandon Bridge.

Bridge threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another in leading the Braves back from a 23-0 deficit to the Panthers last week, and Collins knows the Tigers defense will be gunning for him.

“They will be coming at him as all teams have been all season due to him being a freshman,” Collins said. “They know that he’s a great part of the offense and they are trying to get him rattled.”

However, Collins said Bridge isn’t likely to be rattled by any pressure.

“He’ll be ready,” Collins said of his freshman quarterback. “He would have to be unable to walk in order not to play.”