Tigers Beat the Braves

Houston, TX-The Texas Southern Tigers dominated the Alcorn Braves in the books as they won their second consecutive home game of the season 14-7.

The point spread wasn’t great but the offensive and defensive statistics were impressive. The Tigers racked up 333 yards of total offense while holding Alcorn to 132 yards. TSU had 173 yards on the ground, 160 in the air and 14 first downs. The Braves threw for 99 yards and rushed for 33 yards in 25 attempts. They had only seven first downs.

It took a while for the Tigers to get points on the board. TSU scored first in the second quarter. Tray Walker set up Texas Southern’s touchdown when he picked off a Brandon Bridge pass and returned it 42 yards to Alcorn’s 28 yard line. Quarterback Riko Smalls hit tight end Kirk Fitzhugh for a seven yard touchdown pass. TSU led 7-0. That scored held into halftime.

The Tigers expanded their lead to 14-0 in the third quarter when Smalls took TSU 48 yards in eight plays for the score. Smalls found the end zone on a 16 yard run.

Samuel Gordy stopped an Alcorn threat when he intercepted a Bridge’s pass at TSU’s 10 yard line. Texas Southern’s young secondary stepped up again in the fourth quarter when Darveon Trahan picked off a Darius Smith pass on TSU’s two yard line.

Alcorn got a break when Terrance Lewis took a punt 84 yards for a touchdown which gave the Braves their only score of the game. TSU led 14-7 with 6:40 left to play.

Texas Southern got the ball and held it for the rest of the game. Two big plays in the drive helped secure the victory. Martin Gilbert’s rush for 25 yards put the Tigers at midfield. Then facing fourth down with 17 yards for a first down, punter Francois Ejiofor took a mis-snap 24 yards for a first down.

“Frenchy’s run was big for us. It kept our drive alive,” said head coach Kevin Ramsey. “He made the right decision because you can’t look to the sideline to see if you should run or kick. Of course if he didn’t make the first down, it would have been a bad decision,” joked Ramsey.

“My coach said that I am here to make big plays and that’s what I did,” said Ejiofor. “The snap was off and when it got it I saw the left side was open so I ran. I used some of the moves that “Martin” Gilbert showed me in practice.”

The Tiger’s started three freshmen in the secondary…Trahan, Walker and Adrian Bennett. Between the three of them, they had 13 tackles, two interceptions for 42 yards and one tackle for loss for -8 yards.

“They are freshman, but their days as pawns are over. They’re rooks on the board now and they are expected to perform as vets,” Ramsey said. “Those guys stepped up big for us today.”

Trahan led the Tiger defense with eight tackles (6 solo), an interception and a TFL. Marquis Jackson had six tackles while Tyrell Jones had five tackles, a sack and 1.5 TFLs.

Gilbert had 87 yards on 21 carries, Richard Samuel had four catches for 28 yards and Joe Anderson had three receptions for 37 yards.
Smalls completed 17 of 39 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for another TD and recorded 25 yards on the ground.

The Tigers have a quick turnaround this week as they head to Jackson State for a Thursday night game on ESPNU. Kickoff is 6:30pm.

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