It's the day before Judgment Day. Alcorn State (5-5) and Grambling (10-1) took the stage Friday in Houston. The Braves and Tigers held walkthrough workouts along with a press conference at NRG Stadium.
Alcorn State is in pursuit of their 3rd straight conference title. For Grambling, the SWAC Championship is a chance to avenge a loss in this very game a year ago. Gulfport native Guy Stallworth says 2015 fueled the Tigers this season. "Everybody pretty much knows what that feeling is like. Everyone knows how hurt everybody was. So a lot of guys came in with the mindset in the offseason that we are going to get here again."
One of the big storylines for Alcorn State is who will start at quarterback. Lenorris Footman is a game time decision with a hand injury.
Lenorris said getting healthy again to close his senior season "was very important to me. But with or without me, I think Alcorn State will be good with Noah Johnson at quarterback. When he's in there, the offense doesn't miss a beat. So with or without me, I think we'll be good."
Containing Kincade will be critical for the Braves defense. Former Rebel Devante Kincade was named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. He led the league in total offense with 290.4 yards per game and has thrown for 28 touchdowns.
All-SWAC linebacker Michael Hurns impressed with the Tigers QB: "He has great playmaking ability and he works hard. Just watching film on him, he is an excellent, excellent quarterback. Phenomenal athlete. And we're just going to have to come with our A game in order to slow him down."
Alcorn State looks to avenge a 43-18 loss to Grambling in the regular season. Head coach Fred McNair remembers that September afternoon well. "The first time we played them, we left a lot on the table. When Martez Carter runs the ball, we have to tackle. So the biggest thing is not giving up the big plays, making them work for what they get and just making plays."
The SWAC Championship kicks off Saturday at 3:00pm. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU and online at ESPN3.com with Eric Clemons on play-by-play, Jay Walker as analyst and Sherree Burress on the sidelines. It can also be heard on 91.7 WPRL FM with play-by-play voice Charles Edmond on the call.
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