Southern expects to have a couple of defensive players back when it visits Alabama State on Saturday.
Coach Dawson Odums said Monday that cornerbacks Jamar Mitchell (hamstring) and Ki-Jana Curtis (shoulder) should be available.
Mitchell has not played this season, and Curtis started in Mitchell’s place in the season opener at Louisiana Tech but has been sidelined since being injured in that game.
Odums said freshman Demerio Houston, who has started the past three games, will continue to start.
“He continues to get better,” Odums said during Monday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches teleconference. “He makes some mistakes and teams get some plays on him, but as a defensive back you have to learn to just play the next play and continue to compete, and he has done that.”
ASU plans Gales donation
Also on the conference call, Alabama State coach Brian Jenkins said he would be talking with his university president about the school making a donation to the Devon Gales Fund.
Southern established the fund last week to raise money to help the Gales family with expenses related to Devon’s treatment. He suffered a severe spinal injury in a 48-6 loss at Georgia on Sept. 26 and has undergone surgery and begun a lengthy rehabilitation process at an Atlanta hospital.
Hornets grab two awards
The Jaguars will face two reigning SWAC Players of the Week on Saturday.
Alabama State quarterback Ellis Richardson was named Offensive Player of the Week, and running back Alex Anderson was named Newcomer of the Week for their performances in a 41-23 win at Texas Southern on Oct. 1.
Richardson, a redshirt sophomore, accounted for 297 total yards of offense (162 pass, 135 rush) and had a hand in four touchdowns. Richardson threw for three scores and rushed for another.
Anderson, a 6-foot, 200-pound freshman, was a considerable part of the Hornets’ run game against Texas Southern, gaining 134 of the team’s 374 yards on the ground — on just 14 carries.
The other awards also went to teammates: Alcorn State junior linebacker Darien Anderson was named Defensive Player of the Week, and Braves junior kicker/punter Haiden McCraney was named Specialist of the Week.
Anderson had a game-high 11 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss, in Alcorn’s 61-14 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. McCraney averaged 44.5 yards on four punts and pinned the Golden Lions’ offense inside its own 20-yard line on three of his attempts. He also converted seven extra points.
Winning in spite of themselves
Alcorn has rolled to four straight victories since opening the season with a 69-6 loss to Georgia Tech, but the Braves have at least one area to focus on during their open date this week: turnover margin.
Alcorn is tied with Arkansas-Pine Bluff for last in the SWAC at minus-1.2 turnovers per game.
“Hopefully that’s going to start flipping the other way in our favor,” coach Jay Hopson said.
Now would be a good time, because the Braves return from their open date to host Grambling next week.
Title-game tickets on sale
Tickets are on sale for the SWAC football championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Dec. 5. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
Tickets start at $17 and are available at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. A limited number of seats at the $32 value will be made available for $27 to groups of 10 or more who purchase by phone at (844) 573-0849.
The annual SWAC battle of the bands featuring performances from the respective division winners culminates with “Judgment Day Saturday” at halftime.
After the championship game, there will be a concert starring R. Kelly. Admission to the concert is included with the purchase of a game ticket.
For more information, visit swacfootball.org.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.