Memories linger from Southern’s last trip to Alcorn
The last time Southern went to Alcorn State, fullback Lee Mitchell lived an offensive player’s worst nightmare.
Trailing by a touchdown with less than a minute to go, facing fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Southern dialed up a play that called for Mitchell to fake a block, then run a route along the goal line.
Instead, he caught it at the 2 and was a few steps away from possibly tying the game.
But he didn’t make it a yard farther, as Braves defensive back Jameson Smith brought him down to seal a 27-20 Alcorn win.
On Saturday, Mitchell will revisit that spot when the Jaguars travel to Lorman, Miss., for a 4 p.m. kickoff that will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and tape-delayed on ESPNU at 9:30 p.m.
“It really is (a nightmare),” Mitchell said. “Especially having to go back to that stadium and seeing that same spot. But it’s going to be all right this year. I think we’re going to pull it out, and it’s not going to be close this year. We aren’t trying to make it close.”
Mitchell isn’t the only one with memories from that loss.
Quarterback Dray Joseph remembers it well. He was a freshman then and had a career game, throwing for 394 yards. But that last play still gnaws at him.
“The tight end was wide open in the corner,” Joseph said. “I watch that film a lot, especially coming up this week.
“I looked at that play, and the tight end was wide open in the corner. I was young, so I just did what I was taught in practice. The fullback was usually wide open, so in the game, I just did what I was taught to do.”
This time around, the Jaguars (2-2, 1-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) are hoping it won’t come down to a final play against the Braves (1-4, 1-2 SWAC).
Their motto in practice this week has been “Start fast, finish strong” — their goal of jumping out to a lead and maintaining it.
“We don’t want to be in that situation this year,” left tackle Chris Browne said.
And while Joseph will go in with some confidence after a sharp performance in his last trip to Jack Spinks Stadium (now known as Spinks-Casem Stadium), his mind is far from a repeat.
“I had a couple of dropped balls, so I could have passed for 400-something,” he said. “But we lost the game. I’m a team player, and I believe team accolades bring individual accolades. I’d trade those yards in for a win any day.”
Five regular starters could be limited or out Saturday against the Braves.
Receiver Charles Hawkins (hamstring) is hoping to be at 100 percent after missing two games and being limited last week, and defensive end Kadeem Lewis (ankle) could also be limited after a tentative week of practices.
Linebacker Javon Allen (ankle) is likely out, as is free safety Mychal Bell (ankle). Franchot West filled in for Allen last week, and D’Mekus Cook would be the starter for Bell.
Perhaps the most worrisome injury is to left guard Zach Brown, who suffered a torn biceps in practice Tuesday and was replaced by Allan Spry.
Offensive line coach Paul Lounsberry said he wasn’t sure about the severity of the tear, but Brown would be fitted with a brace and would try to play.