Southern wide receiver Hunter Register was hoping media would notice his apparel during the postgame interviews at the Bayou Classic. It was a tip to this week’s clash with Alcorn State.
“Y’all aren’t going to say anything about my suit?” the senior from Lafayette asked. “It’s a business suit; we still have unfinished business. We get a rematch with them (Alcorn). We’re going to keep a business mindset, go out and practice hard.”
Southern (8-4) and Alcorn (8-3) hook up for the fourth time in two years and for the second consecutive season in the Southwest Athletic Conference Championship Game at Spinks-Casem Stadium in Lorman, Mississippi, at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Southern dropped a 27-13 decision to the Braves earlier this season for its only conference loss and is also 1-9 against Alcorn under coach Dawson Odums. Alcorn is making its sixth consecutive title game appearance while it will be the fourth in seven seasons for Southern.
Alcorn State has won three of the past five SWAC titles. Southern last won in 2013, beating Jackson State 34-27 and also lost to Alcorn, 38-24, in 2014.
“The two most consistent teams in the SWAC in my time here have been Southern and Alcorn,” Odums said. “It’s our fourth appearance in the title game and that’s a testament to our coaches, players and administration. We play with consistency and effort and we wouldn’t do it any other way.”
Alcorn finished the season as the top defensive team in the SWAC for the regular season, passing Southern as the top defense against the rush.
The Braves allowed 19.3 points per game, the only team with a sub 20-point average. Southern was third (24.9) behind Grambling State (22.4).
Alcorn allowed only 328.5 yards per game, tops in the league and passed Southern on the final week in rushing defense. The Braves allow 127.5 while Southern allowed 128.7 yards per game. The Jaguars gave up 517 yards on the ground to Jackson State and Grambling, their past two games. Southern is fifth in total defense at 390.7 yards per game.
Southern is still king when it comes to running the ball at 226.8 yards per game. The Jaguars totaled 208 yards on 42 carries for a 5.0 average vs. Grambling. Alcorn is sixth in rushing yards at 161.7 per game.
Mackey is back
The Bayou Classic marked the return of Southern wide receiver Cameron Mackey, who had missed the previous five games with an injury. Mackey caught four passes for 53 yards, including a 39-yarder to set up Southern’s first touchdown to get the Jaguars back into the game from a 21-3 deficit. Mackey also had a 9-yard run on that drive and caught a 10-yard pass to convert a third-and-10 play. He boosted his season receiving totals to 17 catches for 199 yards.
Southern linebackers Calvin Lunkins and Caleb Carter have been staging quit a battle for the team lead in tackles. Carter, a junior, entered the Bayou Classic with 67, one ahead of the senior Lunkins. But Lunkins tallied 11 against Grambling while Carter finished with nine, including a sack and a forced fumble, to give Lunkins a 77-76 edge.
Southern’s Bayou Classic victory boosted the Jaguars up one spot in each of the BOXTOROW HBCU polls released on Monday. Southern moved up from No. 5 to No. 4 in the coaches top 10 and No. 6 to No. 5 in the media rankings.
Alcorn stayed at No. 1 in the coaches rankings and North Carolina A&T was tops in the media poll.
The Blue and Gold Fan Club is sponsoring a bus trip to the SWAC Championship Game at Alcorn State University. The cost is $110 which includes game ticket and a full meal prior to the game and refreshments after the game. Departure at 7:30 am and returning after the game. For more information, call 225-324-7234.