#42 Alcorn State FCS Football 2019 Preview

Alcorn State Braves
Overall Rank: #42
 Alcorn State Logo
Alcorn State reached the Celebration Bowl last season, but came away with a tough 22-14 loss to North Carolina A&T. With an impressive amount of experience on both sides of the ball, Coach Fred McNair and company will hope to not only return to the Celebration Bowl, but also win it.
2018 Record: 9-4, 6-1
2018 Postseason: Celebration Bowl vs North Carolina A&T (L 22-14)
Coach: Fred McNair (20-15 at Alcorn, 20-15 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Elliott Wratten
Defensive Coordinator: Cedric Thornton
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: De’Shawn Waller, RB, 1,206 yards
Passing: Noah Johnson, QB, 2,207 yards
Receiving: Chris Blair, WR, 529 yards
Tackles: Qwynnterrio Cole, DB, 76
Sacks: Solomon Muhammad, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: Javen Morrison, DB, 4
Other Key Returnees: RB Marquise Forman, WR Raidarious Anderson, WR Juan Anthony Jr, OL Mustaffa Ibrahim, OL Kevin Hall, OL Deonte Brooks, LB Brelion Hollis, DB Daylon Burks
Key Losses: RB PJ Simmons, WR Dayall Harris, TE Jaquaveon Boles, OL Chris McCrea, DL Terry Whittington, DL Sterling Shippy, LB Trae Ferrell, DB Leishaun Ealey, DB Brady Smith
Quarterback Noah Johnson threw for 2,207 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 1,080 yards and 11 more scores. With Johnson pulling the strings, the Braves should again be one of the most potent offenses in the FCS. Johnson is not the only rusher on the team though. Running back De’Shawn Waller is a superb talent and added 1,206 yards and a dozen touchdowns on the ground in 2018. With an experienced offensive line, the ground game should be even more potent this time around. The passing game is not too bad either. Chris Blair is back after catching a team high 43 passes for 529 yards and six touchdowns and Raidarious Anderson and Juan Anthony are also proven pass catchers.
Despite the impressive offense, it was really the defense that led to Alcorn State’s success last season. The unit ranked eighth in the FCS, allowing a mere 291.4 yards per game. There are a few holes to fill, but this unit could be just as productive. Qwynnterrio Cole, Javen Morrison and Daylon Burks are a formidable secondary and Solomon Muhammad and Brelion Hollis are solid linebackers. The key for the unit though will be remaining as strong against the run without some of their key defensive linemen.
The Bottom Line:
Alcorn State should be the favorite to win the SWAC and reach the Celebration Bowl once again. Last season the Braves beat Southern in the conference championship game and that could again be the matchup. Those two also face off in the regular season when Alcorn State hosts Southern on October 26th. That should be the game of the year in the SWAC.
Projected Postseason: Celebration Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 285.8 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 187.5 (86, 6)
Total Offense: 473.3 (13, 1)
Scoring Offense: 32.6 (24, 2)
Rushing Defense: 91.2 (3, 1)
Pass Defense: 200.2 (38, 4)
Total Defense: 291.4 (8, 1)
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (18, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.38 (27, 2)
Sacks: 4.00 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.08 (18, 2)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#45 Jordan Richo
#85 Niko Duffey
#118 Chris Green
#160 Kendrick Brown
#175 Tevarrius Adams