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HOUSTON – The Alcorn State University football program jumped out to a two-touchdown advantage in the first quarter and never surrendered the lead in a wire-to-wire 24-17 win over Texas Southern in a non-conference game Friday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Alcorn (3-2, 1-0 SWAC) scored on its first drive of the game on a 45-yard pass to senior Norlando Veals. The Braves increased the edge to 14-0 after an eight-yard run by junior P.J. Simmons. The Tigers (0-4, 0-1 SWAC) could not get the deficit below seven points the rest of the way.alcn txso092917

The Braves rushed for 244 yards as a team. Senior De'Lance Turner, the reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Week winner, totaled 115 rushing yards. Simmons ended with 88 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Lenorris Footman rushed for 41 yards and a score.

In the air, Footman threw for 241 yards and a touchdown. More than half of his yards went to Veals who hauled in six catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Alcorn was led by junior Isiah Thomas who turned in a career game. He tripled his career-high with 13 tackles including three for a loss and also recorded an interception. Junior Leishaun Ealey notched eight tackles with a pair of pass break-ups.

Dominic DeLira threw for 183 yards for TSU.

After the Tigers went three-and-out on their first series of the game, Alcorn's offense wasted little time and scored on a 45-yard pass to Veals. It came on a slant route through the middle as Veals made the catch and then outran the Tigers defense to put Alcorn ahead 7-0 at the 12:17 mark. It was the third play of the drive, and came after a first down rush by Turner.

The Braves added-on another score late in the first quarter to make it 14-0. The drive was setup by a 38-yard completion to Veals as he was off to the races, but got tripped up at the last moment. Simmons did the rest from there, as he ran for the final 16 yards including an eight-yard touchdown rush along the right sideline.

The Tigers got on the board with a 93-yard kick return for a touchdown by Daequan Jones. It trimmed the deficit to 14-7 with 22 seconds left in the first quarter. Jones broke free after making one sharp cut along the left side and sped past the coverage for the score.

TSU was threatening again early in the second quarter after a 28-yard rush by Tylor Cook moved the ball to the Alcorn 31. Though, the Braves defense made a stand, and a 4th-and-7 attempt by the Tigers was broken up by junior OJ O'Neal on a pass over the middle.

Alcorn was looking to put points on the board late in the half. A screen pass to Turner went for 24 yards and placed the ball near midfield with 40 seconds left. On the next play, Footman completed a pass to junior Charles Hughes for a first down at the TSU 38, as Alcorn called its second timeout with 30 seconds remaining. A scramble for 20 yards and out-of-bounds by Footman stopped the clock with 21 seconds at the TSU 18.

After a pair of incomplete passes, the Braves settled for a 34-yard field goal attempt but it sailed wide-right. Alcorn held a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Braves came out hot in the second half, and completed a pair of quick passes to Veals and junior Tavares Johnson. A big run around the right corner by Turner nearly went for the score but he was tackled short at the one-yard line for a gain of 32. Footman kept it himself on the very next play for a one-yard touchdown run to the right to go up 21-7 with 13:29 remaining.

Midway through the third, the Tigers put together a long, 12-play drive capped by a two-yard touchdown run through the middle by Brad Woodard on a third-and-goal. It chopped the Alcorn lead back down to 21-14.

The Braves offense got going again early in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard run through the middle by Simmons. It helped increase the lead to 24-14 after sophomore Corey McCullough registered a 28-yard field goal with 11:21 to go.

TSU was able to make it a one-score game again with 4:58 in the fourth after Aaron Cuevas was successful on a 49-yard field goal attempt.

The Tigers had one last chance to tie the game as they took over at their own eight-yard line with 1:02 remaining and no timeouts. TSU converted one first down, but didn't get past its own 27-yard line.

The Braves have a short week coming up as they travel to Alabama State for a Thursday game at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Alcorn is 22-18 all-time against the Hornets and seeking its fourth straight win in the series. The Braves have gone undefeated against SWAC East Division opponents in back-to-back years. Alcorn will look to go 2-0 in league play for the fourth time in the last five years.

~ AlcornSports.com

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