Braves cruise at home

Published 12:01 am Sunday, October 23, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Concordia College's Demarcus Heath tackles Alcorn's Donte Parker during Alcorn's homecoming game Saturday afternoon.

LORMAN — Alcorn State University makes a habit of working on turnovers during practice, and if Saturday’s homecoming game was any indication, practice indeed makes perfect.

The Braves recovered 10 turnovers by the visiting Concordia College Hornets from Selma, Ala., as ASU won in a 58-16 blowout. Braves head coach Melvin Spears said he was not surprised by his team capitalizing on the Hornets’ numerous miscues.

“We have a drill where we consistently pull the ball out on a regular basis, scooping and scoring, and things of that nature,” Spears said. “We were glad today that we had a bunch of times where we ended up getting the ball in the red zone, and we converted.”

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Things didn’t start off on the right foot for the Braves, as Concordia scored the first touchdown of the day after the Hornets and Braves traded turnovers early. On the first play from scrimmage, Concordia ran a triple reverse and threw downfield, only to have ASU’s Brandon Thompson intercept the ball.

On the next play, though, Braves quarterback Darius Smith fumbled the ball and Concordia recovered on Alcorn’s 19. The Braves forced Concordia to a field goal, which kicker Sam Robinson missed, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty gave the Hornets new life. A pass interference penalty several plays later put the Hornets on the 3-yard line, and Johnathan Craig punched it in to give Concordia an early 6-0 lead.

But it was all ASU for the rest of the half, as the Hornets kept handing the Braves gift after gift. ASU got the lead with 8:26 to go in the first on a 39-yard pass from Smith.

On Concordia’s next possession, ASU forced a fumble and recovered on the Concordia 40-yard line. On the very next play, Smith hit Terrance Lewis for a 40-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-6 ASU.

The Braves forced a punt on the Hornets’ next possession, and drove it down the field before kicker Arturo Tamayo hit a 22-yard field goal to give Braves a 17-6 lead with 3:46 left in the first.

The second quarter was more of the same, as the Braves scored five more touchdowns to give them a 51-6 halftime lead. ASU’s Terrance Jenkins blocked a Hornets punt and ran it back 42 yards for a touchdown with 8:45 left in the second.

Kenny Roby tallied an interception on Concordia’s next possession, setting up a Terrance Lewis 19-yard touchdown reception with 8:02 left in the second. The Hornets fumbled on their next possession on their own 27, and several plays later, Darius hit Donte Parker with a 14-yard touchdown pass with 5:50 remaining before intermission.

William Thomas later had a 45-yard interception return at the 2:58 mark in the second, and another Hornets fumble on their own 26 set up a 10-yard run by Smith with 2:05 left.

Concordia tallied a safety with 7:05 left in the third, and Andrew Harris had a 6-yard touchdown reception for the Hornets with 4:31 left in the third. With six seconds left in the third, ASU scored its final touchdown on a 1-yard carry by Owen Royal.

Smith was 9 of 18 in passing for 162 yards and four touchdowns. Arnold Walker led in rushing with 126 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Brandon Bridge did not get any playing time, but Spears said there was nothing to read into that decision.

“The best guys here play,” Spears said. “Every guy competes on a regular basis. It’s all about competition, and the guy that (practices the best) during that week is the guy that participates.

“Everyone wants to talk about the quarterback position, but the quarterback is the glamour position. We’ve got 10 other positions where guys come in and compete their butts off as well.”

ASU improved to 2-4 overall, and is 1-4 in SWAC play. The Braves will travel to Southern University next Saturday.