From the Southwestern Athletic Conference:
PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Alcorn State Braves erased a 19-point second half deficit Thursday night and stunned Arkansas–Pine Bluff by a score of 39-38 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
In front of a national television audience on ESPNU, Niko Duffey’s two-yard run with 3:01 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Braves (2-2, 1-0 SWAC) their first lead of the game and proved to be the final margin of victory.
Following Duffey’s run, the Golden Lions (1-2, 0-1 SWAC) had one more chance to reclaim the lead, but their drive was hindered by a chop-block call that put them in a first-and-25 situation at midfield. Three plays later on fourth-and-seven, Christopher Daigre broke up Skyler Perry’s pass attempt and helped seal the win for the Braves.
Felix Harper completed 16 out of his 32 pass attempts for 368 yards and threw three touchdown passes. He also ran for an 11-yard touchdown.
Two of Harper’s touchdown strikes went for 60 yards or more; he completed a 60-yard strike to LeCharles Pringle with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Pringle two touchdown receptions for the game.
With 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, Harper completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Bolar, capping a three-play, 90-yard drive for the Braves that pulled them to within a touchdown at 38-33.
There were several times during the game when it seemed that Arkansas-Pine Bluff was going to put the game out of reach. The home team had momentum early on when the Golden Lions scored the first 17 points of the game less than halfway through the first quarter.
The Golden Lions stretched their lead to 32-13 when Tyqua Fleming took a blocked Alcorn punt 13 yards for a touchdown with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter; it was Pine Bluff’s second lead of 19 points in the game.
Alcorn responded with a five-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Harper’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Pringle with 4:04 left in the quarter. Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Kavareous Lowe took the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the Alcorn 3-yard line, but the Braves kept their hosts from scoring with a negative rush and three consecutive incomplete passes.
Following that defensive stand, the Braves pieced together a seven-play, 94-yard drive that was capped with Harper’s 11-yard touchdown run that cut Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s lead to 32-26. Harper also completed three passes of at least 20 yards on that drive, two to Bolar and one 24-yard reception to Manny Jones.
Pine Bluff then responded with a 64-yard pass completion from Perry to Daemon Dawkins that got the Golden Lions to the Alcorn 2-yard line as the third quarter ended. When the teams switched sides of the field, the Lions got back into the end zone and stretched their lead to 38-26.
After that touchdown, the Lions managed only two first downs for the remainder of ther game – both during their final drive that ultimately stalled on fourth down. Meanwhile, the Braves scored the two touchdowns they needed, with Duffey’s go-ahead score capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive.
Duffey finished the game with 142 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Bolar caught five passes for 151 yards, while Pringle caught four passes for 126 yards. Juan Anthony Jr. also made four catches for the Braves, compiling 57 yards.
Keyron Kinsler Jr. led the Braves defense with 12 tackles, including eight solo tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Claudin Cherelus recorded nine tackles, with two tackles for loss. Tyreic Martin and Jacorian Wren also had two tackles for loss.
About the SWAC
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is considered one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country and currently ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams.
Current championship competition offered by the league includes competition for men in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field and Tennis.
Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.