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?
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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