The Alabama State University football team struggled out of the gates and ran out of time in a tough 19-7 loss at Jackson State Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
With the loss, ASU falls to 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Jackson State (3-5, 3-3 SWAC) earns its first home victory of the season and fourth consecutive over Bama State.
All the points were scored in the first half as both teams had offensive troubles against two of the SWAC's top defensive units. ASU finished with 159 total yards for the game while JSU amassed 212.
"I thought the players worked hard this week," said ASU head coach Reggie Barlow. "Today, we just dug ourselves an early hole with some miscues. Our defense continues to play strong and do some really good things. We have got to be able to make plays on offense if we want to win games. This was a tough one, but we just have to keep working and get ready to play our next game."
As expected, the defenses dominated play early in the game. The two teams combined for just two first downs in the opening quarter, but Jackson State held a 16-0 lead due to special teams and one long run.
The Tigers got on the board with 8:04 left in the first quarter following a 46-yard field goal by Eric Perri. A punt block by JSU's Ryan Rich gave the Tigers the ball at ASU's two-yard line. JSU then added a three-yard touchdown on a scamper around the left end by Bloi-Dei Dorzon. Jackson State led 9-0 after missing the extra point because of a high snap.
JSU moved ahead 16-0 with 1:31 remaining in the first quarter as quarterback Dedric McDonald surged over from a yard out. Dorzon galloped on a 49-yard rush to set-up the Tigers touchdown.
After Chris Preer recovered a fumble for the ASU defense to start the second quarter, the Hornets pushed the ball into Jackson State territory but saw the drive end on an interception by Kerry Hoskins. Bama State responded quickly though as Adrian Hardy snagged his team-leading fourth interception and rumbled down to the JSU nine. The Hornets were unable to capitalize on the turnover as the Tigers defense held on a fourth and goal play from the one.
ASU finally struck with 4:41 left in the first half when Chris Mitchell connected with Nick Andrews for a six-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers closed the scoring with a 40-yard field goal by Perri with 27 seconds remaining to take a 19-7 lead into halftime.
Alabama State used a stout defense and a balanced offense during the third quarter to keep things close, but a pair of missed field goals kept the Hornets deficit at 12. Jake King's 43-yard attempt early in the period slid wide left while Andrew Lyons' 25-yard attempt with 4:08 left in the quarter also went left.
Jackson State collected a pair of fourth quarter interceptions to secure the homecoming victory.
For the game, Mitchell finished 13-of-34 for 148 yards passing. Andrews led the Hornets with five catches for 63 yards followed by T.C. McWilliams (68 yards) and Darius Mathis (24 yards) with four receptions each. ASU's defense got a game-high 10 tackles by Hardy.
Dorzon led JSU with 108 yards rushing on 19 carries. He became the first ASU opponent rusher to gain more than 100 yards this season. McDonald threw for 63 yards on 8-of-25 passing.
Alabama State next faces Southern University at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile next Saturday. The ASU-SU game kicks off at 2:30 p.m.
ASU GAME NOTES: