Alcorn State stops Southern 39-24, wins SWAC title

Courtesy: Alcorn State Athletics
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LORMAN, Miss. (AP) Qwynnterrio Cole made a big fourth-down stop at midfield, Taurence Wilson returned an interception 53 yards with 1:23 left and Alcorn State earned a trip to the Celebration Bowl with a 39-24 win over Southern in the Southwest Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday night.

After Cole’s stop, De’Shawn Waller ripped of a 31-yard run, Niko Duffey had an 11-yard run and the Jaguars chose to let Waller score from 6 yards on the next play, allowing the Braves to go up 32-24 with 1:57 to play.

Three plays later, Wilson stepped in front of a LaDarius Skelton pass and sealed Alcorn State’s 17th SWAC title and their second straight trip and third overall to meet the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion in the Celebration Bowl. The opponent on Dec. 21 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is two-time defending Celebration Bowl champion North Carolina A&T.

The Aggies beat Alcorn State 24-22 last year and 41-34 in the inaugural Celebration Bowl in 2015.

It was a wild fourth quarter that opened with Southern (8-5) on top 17-16. Felix Harper and LeCarles Pringle hooked up for a 56-yard touchdown to give Alcorn State (9-3) at 22-17 lead after the two-point conversion failed.

Skelton capped an 80-yard drive with an 8-yard run for a 24-22 lead with 8:43 to go. The Braves marched back 63 yards and Corey McCullough’s 23-yard field goal with 5:07 to play put made it 25-24.

Southern got a big kickoff return to the 39 but on fourth-and-1, Cole, a safety made the big stop.

Alcorn State won the regular-season meeting 27-13 and went on post the fifth undefeated season in school history, the first since 2002 and the first time ever with seven wins.