Alcorn State is unbeaten in the Southwestern Athletic Conference after beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State, but the Braves’ balanced and effective offense takes a backseat today to the Alabama State offense, which ranks among the best in the Football Championship Subdivision.
A primary reason for that, obviously, is junior tailback Isaiah Crowell, the most visible player in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. But there’s more to the Hornet offense than Crowell.
“It starts up front with our offensive line,” Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said. “(Offensvie line) coach ‘Brad’ (Antonio Bradford) has done a good job getting these guys to play at a high level. We knew that we had two good running backs and our passing game with (Daniel) Duhart and the receivers and last game was a good indication of what the guys can do when they catch the ball and don’t fumble it or whatever.
“You had (DeMario) Bell making a big-time catch and getting yards after the catch, you had Earl Lucas making a couple of catches and getting some yards, Jarrett Neely made a catch and broke some tackles (as well as) Jamel (Johnson). That is the type of production we thought we would be getting out of our offense.”
When the offense continues to produce — instead of slacking off in the third quarter — and the players execute the offense without turnovers, the Alabama State offense can produce a lot of problems for opposing defensive coordinators.
“We certainly hope so,” Barlow said. “Everybody knows it starts with Isaiah but whenever you can have a guy like Earl who can get on the edge and can make plays, Bell that can stretch the field, get a plus-30 play from a guy like Neely, all of those guys are guys who can make plays and it gives the opponent a lot more to prepare for.”