Gibbs, Alcorn rolls over UAPB
Published 12:03 am Sunday, November 16, 2014
LORMAN — Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson feared his impending matchup against University of Arkansas atPine Bluff would be a trap game for his Braves. Minutes into the game, his fears were silenced.
The (3-7) Golden Lions gift-wrapped seven points to (9-2) Alcorn State in the form of an opening drive interception that Alcorn State safety Devon Francois returned for a touchdown. Francois intercepted Benjamin Anderson and returned it 28 yards to give Alcorn an early 7-0 lead. The pick-six within the first two minutes helped put Hopson’s worries to bed, setting the stage for a 56-6 Braves rout over the Golden Lions.
“I think that was huge, because this was a dangerous game,” Hopson said. “I thought we needed to start out fast, and that’s what the kids did.”
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After Francois made the first of his two interceptions in the game, Alcorn quarterback John Gibbs Jr. and the Braves’ offense handled the rest, particularly Gibbs with his legs and arm.
“Offensively, we felt like we were on a roll, and we came out and said, ‘We don’t want to punt at all,’” GIbbs said. “We ended up punting once, which was short of our goal, but we took command of this game.”
In the first half, Gibbs accounted for 94 percent of Alcorn State’s offense, rushing for 75 yards and passing for 144, leading Alcorn State to score on all three of its first half scoring drives.
“That’s the type of play he’s given us since he’s got here,” Hopson said.
The Braves were nearly derailed on their opening drive of the game, facing a third-and-long near midfield. However, Gibbs dropped back to pass and found a crossing Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, who turned upfield and picked up the first down conversion.
“It was a big conversion,” said the former Trinity Saint standout. “I had to depend on John to give me a good ball, and the offensive line made the blocks.
The Braves went on to score on the drive with a 2-yard Arron Baker touchdown run, extending Alcorn’s lead to 14. From there, Alcorn’s offense never missed a beat, scoring on every drive until late in the third quarter when Hopson pulled Gibbs with a 49-6 lead. Gibbs was responsible for three touchdowns before he exited the game, throwing 10-yard pass to Brand Campbell and a 12-yard pass to Norlando Veals to give Alcorn a 28-6 lead at the half, and connecting with Billy Shed for a short touchdown pass in the third, one drive before his exit.
Any hopes of an Golden Lions’ comeback following the half were derailed by a 92-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown by Jarvis Turner, putting the Braves up 35-6.
Baker added two more touchdowns in the second half — a 21-yard run and a 2-yard run.
Up next for Alcorn will be Jackson State. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. in Lorman.