Southern comes up short against Alcorn in SWAC championship

Southern comes up short against Alcorn in SWAC championship
Southern head coach Dawson Odums (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

LORMAN, Miss. (WAFB) - Despite six turnovers, Southern hung with Alcorn until about 3:00 left in the game but came up short in the SWAC championship.

The Jags (8-5) fell 39-24 to the Braves (9-3). The final turnover by Southern put the game way out of reach.

RECAP: Southern vs Alcorn in SWAC Championship

Ladarius Skelton was 18-of-28 for 154 yards. He also threw two interceptions. He also had 19 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

The first few drives of the game started with turnovers by both teams. First, Tamaurice Smith picked off a pass by Felix Harper. Then, Skelton fumbled to give the ball back to the Braves. On Southern’s next possession, Skelton fumbled again. The ball was scooped up by Solomon Muhammad and returned 84 yards to the 2-yard line. However, Jakoby Pappillion intercepted Harper in the endzone for a touchback.

The Jags then put together a six-play, 87-yard drive that was capped off with a 32-yard touchdown run by Jarod Sims to go up 7-0. The Braves answered immediately with an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown by Javen Morrison to make it 7-7 with just under 2:00 left in the first quarter. The Braves added two more points before the quarter was over when the Jags were called for holding in the endzone. Alcorn took a 9-7 lead with 1:00 left in the first.

Southern roared back later with a nine-play, 70-yard drive in which Skelton found pay dirt on a three-yard scamper to put the Jags up 14-9 with 10:33 left in the first half. Later, Alcorn running back Trey Turner scored on a three-yard run to make it 16-14. The turnover bug reared its ugly head two more times in the first half for the Jags to stop drives. First, running back Devon Benn put the ball on the turf and the Braves recovered. Later, Skelton was pressured by the Alcorn defense, which led to an interception.

In the third quarter, Southern drove down to the Alcorn 7-yard line but Skelton threw another interception. This one was in the endzone. The Jaguar defense would not be deterred and stood its ground. Harper was picked off by Datrel Brumfield to give the ball back to Skelton and the offense. The Jags weren’t able to get all the way to pay dirt but a 41-yard field goal from kicker Cesar Barajas gave them the 17-16 lead with 6:50 left in the third. The Southern defense then stepped up again. After giving up some yards to Alcorn, the Jags stopped the Braves at the 24-yard line and Corey McCullough missed a 34-yard field goal.

Later, the Jaguar defense made a crucial mistake. Harper connected with a wide open LeCharles Pringle for a 56-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed, so the Braves held a 22-17 lead with 14:02 left in the game. Later, Skelton weaved his way through the Alcorn defense and carried a defender for a couple of yards to cross the goalline from eight yards out to put the Jags back up, 24-22, with 8:43 left in the game.

The Braves then drove down to the Southern 6-yard line and McCullough was true from 23 yards out to give Alcorn the 25-24 lead with 5:11 left in the game. The Braves added a late touchdown to go up 32-24. Skelton then threw a pick-six with 1:12 left in the game. Taurence Wilson returned the interception 53 yards for a touchdown to give Alcorn the 39-24 lead.

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