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SWAC bid demolished by Mississippi Braves of Alcorn State

By Shamaria' Knowles
On November 15, 2013

  • IEEE

In a must win game, the Prairie View A&M Panthers failed to take care of business on the road and suffered a devastating loss to the Braves of Alcorn State University 50-35.
 The Panthers traveled to Lorman, Miss. knowing that if they lost, all chances of going to the SWAC championship would disappear. The Braves raced out to an early 7-0 lead after the game's opening kickoff was returned to the Panthers' red zone.
 Two drives later, the Panthers tied the game with a touchdown from Deandre Cooper followed by a successful PAT from kicker Chris Barrick. Both teams committed turnovers on their next possessions, but the Panthers put together a long drive to end the first quarter.
 To start the second quarter, the Panthers took the lead as sophomore Johnta' Hebert rushed in from 18-yards out to make the lead 14-7. The Braves put together a potential game tying drive, but were stopped by the Panthers linebacker Chuck Obi with an interception. The Panthers failed to capitalize and everything went downhill from there.
 The Braves scored 27 points in the second quarter and the Panthers could never catch up. The Panthers fell victim to the interception bug once again on the ensuing drive as the Braves picked the ball off at the Panthers 35. Head coach Heishma Northern said that the five turnovers committed were costly.
 "When you turn the ball over, and the opposing team takes advantage of them, there will be no way that you can win. And that's what happened tonight. We committed turnovers on crucial drives and was outplayed."
 Six plays later, ASU moved ahead by a 21-14 margin following Arnold Walker's three-yard scamper.
The Panthers punted on the ensuing drive, and allowed the Braves to convert two third down conversions on the next drive which led to another Brave score for the 27-14 deficit.
Northern said that his team played inconsistent and couldn't keep up the momentum. "It's like, we weren't playing Prairie View A&M football. We stooped down to their level. When we had the momentum, we did something careless and lost it. Between turnovers and getting outcoached the game was in the other team's favor all night."
Late in the second quarter, the Panthers' offense was forced to punt once again after a three-and-out and was faced with a decision to punt or run an offensive play on 4th-and-10 at the Panthers' 32. Later John Gibbs Jr. rushed in from 15 yards out to close out the half with the Braves leading 34-14.
The Braves turned to the running game in the third quarter and scored an opening drive touchdown, pushing the lead to 40-14. Panthers quarterback De'Auntre Smiley connected on two long passes to Cooper and wide receiver Jacoby Anderson to set the Panthers up to score.
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Courtney Brown rushed in for the score, narrowing the Braves lead to 40-21.
The Panthers chipped away the Braves' lead, as Smiley hooked up with Cooper and cut the lead down to 40-28. Sadly, the Braves added a touchdown and a field goal to end any hopes that the Panthers had of going to SWAC.
The Panthers had one last gasp of air as Cooper caught a 57-yard pass from Lovelocke with no time remaining. Senior Cooper caught three touchdowns and tallied 137 receiving yards on six receptions. Cooper needs only 82 more yards to break the single season all-time receiving mark of 1,015 yards by the great Otis Taylor.
This is the second year in a row that the Panthers will miss the SWAC championship game by being out of first place by one game.
If you look back on the season the crucial road losses to Southern in overtime and Jackson State are what kept them from playing Dec. 7.
Those two games resulted in high scoring and little mistakes derailed the Panthers.
Northern added, "All we can do now is bounce back and play these last two games at home, and win these games in front of our fans."
The Panthers will close out their season with a two game home stand against Abilene Christian starting Saturday. The Panthers are asking that all fans wear black to 'blackout' Blackshear stadium. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Tailgating will start around 11 a.m.  

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