ALABAMA STATE HORNETS 6-2 (6-1)
NOVEMBER 2, 2013 – 7:30 PM
COMMONWEALTH STADIUM – LEXINGTON, KY
TV – ESPN3
FIRST EVER MEETING
The Alabama State Hornets come into their first ever matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats riding a 6 game win streak with 5 of those coming against SWAC opponents. Their conference record stands at 6-1 with most of 4 of those victories coming at an average 26.5 PPG while the other 2 were by 3.5 PPG for an overall average margin of victory of 18.8 PPG. In short, these guys are rolling.
The Hornets are led on Offense by RB Isaiah Crowell. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Crowell finished his 2011 Freshman season for the Georgia Bulldogs as the starting tailback. During that season, he rushed 185 times for 850 yards and 5TDs. Going into his Sophomore season, things were looking up until he was arrested on two felony weapons charges and dismissed from the Georgia Bulldogs football team. This was a huge blow to his personal life and his football career. He immediately transferred to Alabama State where he has been nothing short of spectacular. During the 2012 campaign, Crowell rushed 159 times for 842 yard and 15TDs. No, that’s not a typo, 15 TDs. The kid is a beast. And through 8 games this season, he already has 123 rushes for 833 yards and 12 TDs. That’s what an SEC RB can do in the SWAC. And that’s what he’ll look to do against Kentucky. If Kentucky is able to stop Crowell, then they’ll have to deal with his battery mate, Malcolm Cyrus who has 112 rushes for 740 yards and 6TDs. Again, not an easy task.
Calling the plays is QB Daniel Duhart whose completions, yardage and TDs keeps the opposing Defense honest. Through 7 games this season, he is 102-178 for 57.3% and also 12TDs. So between the RB and QB, there are 24 TDs which is the epitome of balance. If you’re wondering who is catching the balls he’s throwing, look no further than DeMario Bell and Earl Lucas. Both Bell and Lucas combine to average around 445 yards receiving in total this season and account for 5 TDs. Though they dominate the team in receiving yards, the distribution among the entire WR corps is broad which makes them tough to scheme against.
This Alabama State Defense is the “get after the QB” kind. They’re aggressive up front and in the LB corps with a total of 19 sacks between them. LBs Kourtney Berry and Leland Barker lead the Hornets, and DT Edward Mosley lead the Hornets with 5 each while DE Carlton Jones has recorded 4. Compound that with Tackles for Loss (TFL) , with their Top 6 being Leland Barker (14.5), DE Chris Terry (9.5), Kourtney Berry (9), Carlton Jones (6.5), Edward Mosley (6), and Justin Mitchell (6) and the Wildcats could have an issue. Because what’s one thing that pressuring the QB does? It requires quicker decisions which could lead to poor decision making and poor passing, which could lead to the INT, which this team has 8 of on the season. DBs Maurice Tate and Najee Bright lead the team with 2 apiece while 4 others have 1 each. But should the QB pressure not create an INT turnover, this Defense has forced AND recovered 11 fumbles. That’s a 100% recovery rate, folks, so they’ve got some serious ball hawking skills.
This Defense operates very well in all facets of the game so Kentucky will have to be creative and disciplined on the Offensive side to flourish.