From the Southwestern Athletic Conference:
MONTGOMERY, Ala.- After a sluggish first half, Alabama State pulled away in the second half to pull away from Mississippi Valley State 42-17 at ASU Stadium in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) action Saturday afternoon.
Alabama State (3-2, 3-1 SWAC) found themselves trailing 3-0 early before forcing a turnover with just over six minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Eric Felts and Irshaad Davis combined to return the fumble inside the 10-yard line before Myles Crawley scored his first career touchdown on a three-yard run with 5:46 remaining in the quarter for a 7-3 lead.
Mississippi Valley State took the lead right back in the final seconds of the quarter on a Jalani Eason 24-yard run for a 10-7 lead with just 10 seconds remaining. Alabama State wasted little time in taking the lead back for good when Ryan Nettles connected with Wallace Corker for the first of his three touchdown passes, this one for 59 yards with 14:32 remaining in the half for a 14-10 lead.
The two teams remained scoreless for the remainder of the first half before Alabama State extended the lead to 21-10 on a Nettles 15-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Hixon with 4:59 to play in the third. After a Mississippi Valley touchdown late in the third, Alabama State responded with 21 unanswered points in the fourth.
Nettles scored on a 14-yard run to push the lead to 28-17 with 12:59 to play in the game, before Jahod Booker pushed it to 35-17 with 9:13 remaining in the fourth. Robert Rivers punched it in from one yard out with just 60 seconds remaining for the margin.
Nettles finished the game throwing for 305 yards on 20-for-34 passing, while also rushing the ball seven times for 83 yards including a long of 53 yards. He connected with nine different receivers led by Hixon with 93 yards on five receptions, while Grantis Poole chipped in with four catches for 22 yards. Corker (80 yards) and Terrance Ellis (21 yards) each finished with three receptions.
Irshaad Davis led the defensive effort with eight tackles and added his first interception of the year, while Naytron Culpepper (two tackles for loss) and Cameron Rampersaud (one sack and one forced fumble) each finished with seven tackles. The Hornets finished the day with four forced turnovers.
Alabama State travels to Birmingham (Ala.) next Saturday to face Alabama A&M in the Magic City Classic with the East Division crown on the line with the Bulldogs win over Jackson State Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm and can be seen on ESPNU. The game will also be carried by the Hornet Sports Network.
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