If Alcorn State is going to get back to the top in Southwestern Athletic Conference play, the Braves are going to have to be road warriors.

Last Thursday was a good start.

The Braves rallied from a 19-point deficit at Arkansas-Pine Bluff to score a 39-38 victory against the reigning West Division champion.

It was the first of six conference road games for the Braves, who surrendered home games on the 2021 fall schedule because they sat out the spring season.

“We’re going to play on the road a lot this year, so going to UAPB was tough,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said during the coaches weekly Zoom conference Monday. “Everything that could possibly go wrong in the course of a football game went wrong in the first half. Offense, defense, special teams.

“I commend this team; the kids didn’t quit. It showed what kind of character they have.”

Alcorn trailed 23-7 in the first quarter and 26-7 at halftime. The Braves rallied with the help of a blocked punt and recovering four Lion fumbles. McNair said it wasn’t the result of a Knute Rockne halftime performance.

“It wasn’t a real big speech,” McNair said. “The kids ate a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oranges, got a lot of water. Biggest thing I told them was the first half was the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching football. I told them they had 30 minutes to go out and make it right. That’s what they did.”

Leading 32-19, UAPB had a chance to put the game away when Kavareous Lowe returned a kickoff to the Alcorn 3-yard line, but the Braves held on downs. They then drove 94 yards in seven plays to score on an 11-yard run by quarterback Felix Harper to swing the momentum.

UAPB coach Doc Gamble said he would have called for a field goal on fourth down, but his placekicker, Zack Piwniczka, was injured and unavailable.

“Zack is Mr. Automatic; if he had been healthy, he’d have run out there and done it,” Gamble said.

Harper later threw a 69-yard TD pass to CJ Bolar in the fourth quarter and Niko Duffey ran 2 yards for his second TD with 3:01 left for the winning points.

Glass leading the league

Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass continues to excel as the reigning offensive Player of the Year. Glass leads the conference with 355.0 yards per game, 55.7 yards better than the next player Jawon Pass of Prairie View. Glass has completed 77 of 123 passes (62.6 percent) for 1,065 yards and 10 touchdowns with only two interceptions. His efficiency rating is 158.9.

Bulldogs coach Connell Maynor said he remembers when he got to A&M Glass had thrown four TD passes and 12 interceptions.

“He’s grown a lot, and played a lot before I got here,” Maynor said. “He’s go weapons around him and protection up front. But he still makes a couple of bad decisions each game.”

Maynor, whose team is 3-0moverall and 1-0 in SWC play, said he has some special motivational words for Glass, who leads his team as it travels to play Grambling (1-3, 0-1) Saturday. Grambling has won the last five games in the series.

“I’ll be telling him all week, ‘You ain’t beat Grambling yet’,” Maynor said.

Week 5 schedule

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Prairie View (Thursday); Alabama A&M at Grambling; Bethune-Cookman at South Carolina State; Alabama State at Florida A&M; North Carolina Central at Mississippi Valley State; North American at Texas Southern. Open dates: Southern, Alcorn State, Jackson State.

Players of the Week

Alcorn State and Texas Southern shared the four SWAC Player of the Week honors this week. Braves QB Felix Harper rallied his team from a 19-point deficit to a 39-38 victory against UAPB to earn the offensive honor. Harper completed 16 of 32 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another score. Alcorn LB Keyron Kinsler had 12 tackles, 2½ for losses, and a forced fumble and fumble recovery to get the defensive honor. TSU PK Richard Garcia made field goals of 45 and 27 yards and was 3-for-3 on extra points against Rice to earn the special teams honor. The tigers’ QB Andrew Body won the newcomer honor, passing for 353 yards and rushing for 62 and two touchdowns.