It was another loss for Alabama State as they fell to Mississippi Valley 44-31. The team extended their losing streak to four and they will finish the season without having won a road game.
Quarterback Ryan Nettles had a season-high three interceptions although his stat line wasn’t bad; 18 completions on 32 attempts, 208 yards, and three touchdowns. One thing you might notice is the targets Nettles had thrown to, wide receivers Brandon Mcduffie and Joshua Knight. Mcduffie is a junior college transfer from Cisco Community College in Cisco, Texas. The 6’2″ 202-pound wideout made his season debut finishing the game with two receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown. Knight is a Junior from Montgomery, Alabama playing in the 23rd career game with the Hornets. He went for 104 yards on just seven receptions which is a season-high and career-high for the 4th year wideout. The running game was not too bad either as running back Jacory Merritt had 73 yards on nine attempts. Ezra Gray tacked on another 51 yards on 16 attempts. You can see a lot more rotation with the offense-skilled players. It looks as if interim head coach Travis Pearson is testing what the team has to work with for next season.
This was a game Alabama State should’ve won. From the first snap, you can see they were the better team. They had the ability to control the game starting off with a 5-yard goal line touchdown pass from Nettles to Mcduffie. Then a 31-yard field goal from punter/kicker Aubrey Grace. Freshmen wide receiver Robert McMinn returned a 60-yard punt for a touchdown, tying with MVSU 17-17 going into the half.
In the second half, the Hornets only scored twice as Mississippi Valley State took over the game. Eason threw for back-to-back 80-plus yard touchdowns. One was for 83 yards to wide receiver Jarius Clayton and another one to Jacory Rankin for 93 yards. Running back Jakobe Thomas had back-to-back touchdowns, a 30-yard run, and a goal-line 4-yard run.
The Hornets defense struggled to contain Mississippi Valley quarterback Jalani Eason. Eason threw for 315 yards on just 12 completions and two touchdowns. Their run defense wasn’t much better either as they allowed three rushing touchdowns. The defense gave up a lot of big plays as the offense couldn’t find a way to regain any momentum.
Next week the Hornets are back home against Texas Southern.