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Alabama A&M looking to regroup after first loss
The perfect storm for an upset was already brewing before Alabama A&M took to the field at Louis Crews Stadium in Normal this past Saturday, a game the Bulldogs would lose 21-20 to Alcorn State.
A&M was undefeated. It was rated No. 2 in most every major black college football poll and made its debut in the FCS national poll at No. 25. It was the state’s hottest team outside of Tuscaloosa and was scheduled to face a Braves team one-game removed from a four-game losing streak on its homecoming.
“This past weekend was something that we as coaches had a fear of,” Jones said during Monday’s SWAC coaches teleconference. “We’d watched Alcorn on film. You look at some of these teams they’ve played. People don’t look at that. They just look at the scores and things of that sort and try not to give people their just due. We tried to make sure our guys were aware of this.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs still stand in first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s eastern division at 6-1 and 5-1 in the conference. There’s a logjam at the No. 2 spot. Rival Alabama State, Alcorn, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State each have two conference losses.
Jones said his team will use the bye week before it squares off against Alabama State in the 71st State Farm Magic City Classic at Birmingham’s Legion Field on October 27th to regroup, especially physically. The Bulldogs had several players out with injuries against Alcorn.
A&M, which fell 16-15 in last year’s SWAC title game, hosts Southern before traveling to face east foe JSU, which downed Alabama State 37-34 on the road Saturday.
“Our guys are really, really, really hurting, reeling from this loss,” Jones said. “It brought back old feelings and we don’t like it. We got a tough, tough, tough team that we gotta go play down in Birmingham and that’s Alabama State.”
First for Valley: Mississippi Valley State coach Karl Morgan said this year marked the first season the Delta Devils downed Grambling State and Southern (La.) in the same season. Valley downed Southern 6-0 in Week 3 and put a season-high 45 points up in a 24-point blowout of winless Grambling, the defending SWAC champions this past Saturday. It was the Delta Devils’ first victory against Grambling since 1996. Valley (2-4, 2-2) will travel to JSU for the Tigers homecoming Saturday.
Players of the Week: Jackson State dominated the SWAC Players of the Week wards.
Quarterback Clayton Moore was the named Newcomer of the Week. The Louisville, Miss. native threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for three scores while gaining 131 yards in the Tigers’ 37-34 win against Alabama State.
Defensive back Qua Cox, who registered seven tackles and an interception against the Hornets, was named Defensive Player of the Week. Kicker Ryan Deising, who nailed the game-winning field goal on a 40-yard attempt as time expired, was an obvious choice as Specialist of the Week.
Valley wide receiver Julian Stafford took home Offensive Player of the Week honors. The junior from Memphis had 266 all-purpose yards against Grambling, including seven catches for 162 yards and an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
By Nick Birdsong, AL.com