MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s Homecoming Week for the Alabama State Hornets and all festivities culminate with the playing of the 96th annual Turkey Day Classic.
In this year’s edition, the Hornets welcome Prairie View A&M in what will be the Hornets’ final game of the season. They look to close out 2019 on a positive note as they currently sit at 5-5 overall and 4-2 in SWAC Conference play.
The Panthers enter with one of the best offenses in the SWAC but have the same overall record as Alabama State. ASU looks to hand PVAMU its fourth conference loss in Thursday’s game, but it won’t be easy.
The Panthers own the highest-scoring offense in the SWAC, averaging 37.1 points per game and lead the league in total offense as well averaging 485.5 yards per game. Prairie View is third in the conference in rushing at 207.3 rushing yards per game and it’s easy to see how. Dawonya Tucker is second in the conference among all rushers, sitting on 1,065 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He averages over 100 yards rushing per game to lead the Panthers attack.
Quarterback Jalen Morton has only played in eight games this year, but still has passed for nearly 2,000 passing yards. Alabama State has the conference’s best passing defense however and will look to shut Morton down.
Defensively, the Panthers haven’t been bad. They’re tied with Alabama State as having the second-best total defense allowing just 362.6 yards per game.
Alabama State doesn’t do particularly one thing great on the offensive end of the ball, but they keep the ball longer than anyone else in the SWAC Conference, which allows them to sustain drives that end in points.
For ASU to defeat PVAMU for its seventh consecutive Turkey Day Classic victory, it will take a total team effort. If Alabama State can pull out a win, it will give the Hornets their first winning season since 2015.