Alcorn State Braves
Location: Lorman, MS
Coach: Fred McNair (12-1) 3rd Season at Alcorn State
Stadium: Jack Spinks Stadium (Capacity: 22,500)
2nd: SWAC (1st in East Division)
183rd: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: For the second straight year, Alcorn had a chance to dethrone Grambling as SWAC Champions, but for a second straight year, despite winning SWAC East, the 7-4 Braves fell to Grambling in the SWAC Championship Game to close their season.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: RB DeLance Turner ran for 1,357 yards last season, setting a school record, and had the second-highest rushing yardage total in all of FCS. He currently is in training camp with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
Key Player: With Turner graduating, all eyes point to RB P.J. Simmons to see if he can equal Turner’s production now that it’s no longer a Turner-Simmons 1-2 punch out of the backfield. He showed plenty last season, gaining 687 yards and scoring 7 touchdowns, but he’ll need to do that and more now that he’s going to be the big dog in the backfield.
Fearless Prediction: Alcorn State has plenty of talent to win SWAC East once again, but the bigger question is whether they have enough to finally beat Grambling and compete for a spot in the Celebration Bowl for the first time since 2015. During the regular season, the Braves host the Tigers in a regular-season clash that will undoubtedly have the feel of a bowl game. Can they knock them out?