MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama State Hornets topped off a three-game road stretch Saturday with another win, defeating Jackson State 13-3.
ASU interim head coach Donald Hill-Eley says it was a challenging game. He says Jackson State's defense was good and the offense showed glimpses of moving the ball, but in the end the Hornets defense played well enough and controlled the clock to get the win.
Now, the Hornets return home for the first time with Eley leading them to take on the No. 11 Grambling State Tigers.
ASU has not won a game at home this season, but Eley doesn't want to hear anything about being cursed at home.
"Week to week it's the coach's responsibility to get those guys to be up to play regardless of where you play," Eley said.
Eley says the defense will have to contain and slow down the Tigers. As for the ASU offense, the team will have to run the football and wear down Grambling State's defense.
ASU also controls its own destiny to finish out the season. The Hornets are in a position to be able to play in the SWAC Championship and Celebration Bowl, but Eley isn't thinking about that yet.
"We want to win every play of every game," Eley said. "At the end we'll tally up the wins to see whether we're going to the Celebration Bowl or Turkey Bowl."
He says the team understands the position it is in, but it is focused on one game at a time.
The key for Eley turning things around for the Hornets has been being positive.
"Nobody wants to be a failure, so you don't have to remind them that they failed," Eley said. "You have to remind them that the opportunity will come again to present yourself as a winner." Eley says instead of yelling at a player for doing the wrong thing, he tries to find what the player did right and remind him that he'll have another chance to get it right.
It's also important for Eley that the players know he cares. He says they tend to do better knowing if someone cares about them and remind them of their personal reasons they are playing.
"It's not about the guy in the hat, it's about the guy in the helmet," Eley said.
Kickoff between ASU and Grambling State is Saturday at 2 p.m. at ASU Stadium.