LORMAN, Miss. – Clinching its fourth straight SWAC East Division crown, the Alcorn State University football program blanked Mississippi Valley State 59-0 Saturday on Senior Day at Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium.
The Braves (7-3, 5-1 SWAC) become the first team in the history of the league to play in four consecutive SWAC Championship games.
Alcorn outgained MVSU (2-8, 1-5 SWAC) 746-215 in total yards. The 746 for the Braves was 10 shy of the school record of 756 set in 1994 against Grambling State.
The Braves also outrushed the Delta Devils 424-to-negative 11.
Sophomore quarterback Noah Johnson threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns. All three of his touchdown passes were caught by senior Norlando Veals who ended with a career-high 253 receiving yards.
Senior running back De’Lance Turner registered 171 yards on the ground with two touchdowns. Junior P.J. Simmons, the reigning SWAC Newcomer of the Week winner, posted 97 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Braves intercepted three passes and forced a fumble. Interceptions were made by senior Jalen Thomas, junior Leishaun Ealey and sophomore Allen Bruce. Senior Michael Brooks wrapped up a team-high seven tackles.
MVSU was led by Dewayne Betts who threw for 158 yards off the bench. Delorean Parker stood out defensively with 11 tackles and 2.0 tackles for a loss.
Alcorn scored on its second possession of the game. After an 11-yard rush by Turner, Johnson scrambled up the middle for 37 yards and a touchdown. It was a quick 28-second drive to put the Braves up 7-0. Alcorn had good field position after a short 22-yard punt by the Delta Devils on the previous possession.
On Alcorn’s next possession, the Braves faced on 3rd and 15 deep in their own territory when Johnson aired it out and Veals made a leaping grab for a gain of 52 yards. Another first down catch by Veals of 11 yards moved the ball to the MVSU 16. The Braves capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Veals in the right corner to make it a 14-0 game near the end of the first quarter.
Alcorn’s defense backed the Delta Devils up the entire second quarter. It was highlighted by a big sack by junior Trae Ferrell, and strong coverage by Bruce on a pair of deep passes.
The strong defense paid dividends for the Braves as the offense started with good field position at the MVSU 45 late in the second quarter. Alcorn cashed in with a 36-yard touchdown by Turner through the left to increase the edge to 21-0 with 2:44 left.
On the ensuing Delta Devils possession, senior Ramonte Bell was in on a pair of sacks which forced the Delta Devils punt again. Johnson connected with senior Jalen Walker for a gain of 21 to put Alcorn in the red zone. A completion to Veals placed the ball at the MVSU 2 with 44 seconds left and setup first-and-goal. Turner capped it off with a two-yard run to the left as the Braves led 28-0 at the break.
The Braves got the ball to start the third quarter and were backed up after three holding penalties. On 2nd and 32, Johnson got outside the pocket on the right and found Veals streaking down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown reception. Alcorn led 35-0 with 12:08 remaining in the third.
Johnson used his legs on Alcorn’s next drive. He broke off a 34-yarder to the left, followed by a 33-yarder up the middle for the touchdown. It increased the edge to 42-0 with 9:42 to go in the third.
The Delta Devils were trying to get it going offensively midway through the third, but a drive into Alcorn territory came to an end after junior Isiah Thomas forced a fumble after a completed pass, and senior Christian Brown recovered at the Alcorn 33.
The Braves took advantage of the turnover with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Veals to make it a 49-0 score with 5:33 left in the third.
Alcorn added on in the third quarter with a 27-yard touchdown run by Simmons to the left. The Braves led 56-0 at the 3:37 mark.
The Delta Devils attempted to air it out early in the fourth quarter, but Ealey jumped in front of a deep pass and grabbed an interception at the MVSU 40. The turnover resulted in three points for the Braves as sophomore Corey McCullough knocked in a 22-yard field goal. It was the only field goal attempt of the game for McCullough is the reigning FCS National and SWAC Special Teams Player of the Week honoree.
MVSU had one last chance to get on the board as it moved into the red zone with under two minutes left, but an interception by Jalen Thomas in the end zone ended the threat.
Alcorn will wrap-up the regular season next Saturday when it travels to Jackson State for a 2 p.m. game. The Braves are seeking their third straight win over the Tigers.