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The Press Box Sports

Alcorn State vs. Grambling State FCS Football Preview

FCS Football Alcorn State Braves Grambling State Tigers

One of the biggest games in FCS Football comes from the SWAC this week when the Alcorn State Braves head into Robinson Stadium to take on the No. 17 Grambling State Tigers. Both teams are rich in football history and have a great following so expect a great crowd to be in attendance. Fans may also catch a preview of the SWAC Championship game as the Braves lead the East division and the Tigers are on top of the West. Both teams are also the only two unbeaten teams in conference play. Numbers wise, these teams are nearly identical in how many points they put up and give up per game. So not only is this a big conference game, expect it to be a great football game period.

Quarterbacks:

Both teams have quarterbacks that are capable of putting up some yards despite being known for their running games. For Alcorn State, Lenorris Footman can beat you with his arm or feet. The dual-threat quarterback has been electric for the Braves and causes a lot of headaches for defensive coordinators. The senior is completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,472 yards, and 9 touchdowns. His mobility is what makes him dangerous for Alcorn State. Footman is averaging 5 yards per carry, for 423 rushing yards, and 6 rushing touchdowns. The Monticello, FL native is a big part of this Braves offense that averages 31 points per game.

The Tigers have a solid quarterback of their own in Devante Kincade. The senior from Dallas, TX is an athletic quarterback and has been the key to Grambling State’s success on offense. Kincade has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,212 yards and 8 touchdowns. While not as mobile as his counterpart in this game, Kincade has good running ability and is mobile enough to keep drives alive. His passing ability will be the main focus in this game though. He averages 13.9 yards per passing attempt will need to maintain that average or better it against the Braves’ defense.

Running Backs:

De’Lance Turner is another weapon Alcorn State has in the running game. The 214 lb. running back is currently the leading rusher in FCS Football. Turner is going up against a Tiger defense that doesn’t give up many rushing yards a game so this could be what makes or breaks either team. The senior from McLain, MS is averaging 7.8 yards per carry (3rd FCS) and has 788 yards and 3 touchdowns on the year. Turner also plays a key role in the passing game for the Braves.

Martez Carter leads the rushing attack for Grambling State. The senior has 441 yards and 5 touchdowns on the year. He’s shifty and has the speed to bust out big gains before defenses knows what hits them. His 6.6 yards per carry causes many defenses to add a player or two in the box which creates more passing opportunities for Kincade. Carter is a lot like Turner where he also plays a role in the passing game. Look for head coach, Broderick Fobbs to try to establish the run early against Alcorn State and Carter will be on the front lines of that attack.

Receivers:

The status of Alcorn State’s leading receiver, Norlando Veals, is unknown at this time. Veals has 31 catches for 524 yards, and 3 touchdowns this season so getting him into the game could be crucial for the Braves. Last week against Prairie View A&M, it was Jalen Walker who stepped up in a big way. Walker had 8 catches and 100 yards in that game. Marquis Warford will be another key receiver for the Braves. The junior has 23 receptions, 260 yards, and 2 touchdowns on the season.

The receiving corps for Grambling State is more spread out than most teams. Look for a minimum of eight receivers to be targeted in this game. Sophomore Darrell Clark leads this Tigers unit with 20 catches, 262 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Jordan Jones and Calief Samon are burners that can make a big play at any moment. They’ll be targeted deep several times against the Braves secondary.

Defense:

The Braves have to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and they have the personnel to do so. Defensive end, Michael Brooks leads the team with 3 sacks. Linebackers Trae Ferrell and Solomon Muhammad will join Brooks on the pressure. The Secondary is anchored by the play of sophomore of Javen Morrison. The Corinth, MS native leads the team with 2 interceptions and 8 pass break-ups this season.

For the Tigers, linebackers De’Andre Hoques and De’Arius Christmas are the heavy hitters for the defense. Christmas leads the team with 41 tackles and has 3 sacks on the year, along with 10.5 tackles for a loss. Hoques leads the team with 4 sacks. It’s been hard to run on the Tigers this season with La’Allan Clark and Linwood Banks on the D-Line. De’Aumante Johnson and Montrel Meander are ball-hawks in the Secondary. Johnson has 4 picks on the year so don’t look for the Braves to challenge his side too often.

Game Strategy:

Alcorn State has to be balanced on offense if they plan to take control against a Tiger defense that gives up just 60 yards per game on the ground. Footman has to get the passing game going early to open up running lanes for Turner to wear down the defensive line later in the game. On defense, the Braves need to get pressure on Kincade and force throws. Don’t give him any time in the pocket to find open receivers because they will get open.

Grambling State just needs to stick with their game-plan this season on offense. It’s a balanced attack and they are very good at mixing it up between the air and on the ground. On defense, the Tigers have to contain the rushing attack for Alcorn State. Stopping Turner will be huge. Force Footman to beat them through the air. Forcing turnovers and taking a lead late in the game will help that cause.

Game time is set for 3pm (local time) Saturday at Robinson Stadium in Grambling, LA. If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch it on the SWAC Digital Network. 

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