MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Hornets head into conference play this weekend with a 1-2 record, with their most recent game resulting in a loss to a ranked Kennesaw State team. ASU head coach Donald Hill-Eley says they did learn something in their loss to the Owls.
“Got an opportunity to play a lot of guys in the second half and found some guys that we could use this week going forward,” said Hill-Eley.
Coach said the Hornets simply made too many mistakes to begin the game. In the first quarter alone the Hornets had a punt blocked and threw a pick-six. They’ll need to clean those things up as they move into this week’s SWAC opener against Grambling State.
“This is a game we need to win," said Hill-Eley.
The Hornets coach says he feels his team is much closer to the upper echelon of SWAC teams like Grambling State. They’ll need to put their past behind them to prove so. Since 2015, Grambling State has outscored the Hornets 115-17 in their matchups. ASU’s been held scoreless twice, and most recently in last year’s 34-0 loss.
The Tigers bring a solid team into ASU Stadium this upcoming Saturday.
“Big. Lot of good size. They do a good job of the quarterback getting on the perimeter and running," said Hill-Eley. "Defensively they fly around, they always have great speed in their secondary. Very big, agile up front on the defensive end, so they’re a very good football team.”
To offset Grambling State the Hornets are going to have to make use of their running game in order to set up some of their own playmakers. Through three games this season, the Hornets rank dead last in the SWAC averaging just 90.3 rushing yards per game. Grambling State is on the other end of that spectrum. Though they’ve played just two games this season, the Tigers rank second in the conference with 229.5 rushing yards per contest.
Hill-Eley says his team has to get the ball into the hands of guys like wide receiver Michael Jefferson. Jefferson is third among all players in the SWAC with 270 receiving yards. He’s second with four touchdown receptions and he leads the conference averaging 27 yards per reception.
Kickoff between the Hornets and Tigers is set for 5 p.m.