ASU Football – Game Preview: Alabama State steps out of conference play to host South Carolina State on Saturday
MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Alabama State steps out of Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play for the only time during the spring 2021 season, hosting South Carolina State at ASU Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Kickoff is set for 2 pm and can be seen on The CW Montgomery. The game will also be carried on the Hornet Sports Network beginning with pregame at 1:30 pm.
Alabama State (2-1), playing their third home game of the season this weekend, had their game against UAPB ruled a no-contest this past weekend with just over six minutes to play in the first half. The Hornets were leading 10-3 and had just taken possession of the football inside the UAPB 30-yard line when play was halted due to lightning. After a nearly two-hour delay, the teams were brought back onto the field only to be put back in the locker room at which time the decision was made to stop the game.
The Hornets head into this weekend with just three regular season games remaining including a home game against Mississippi Valley State next weekend, and the Magic City Classic the following weekend (April 17). Meanwhile, South Carolina State (1-1) has two just two games remaining including this weekend as they have Delaware State remaining on their abbreviated spring schedule.
Ezra Gray leads Alabama State offensively after earning the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week and BOXTOROW National Player of the Week awards after a 195-yard performance against Jackson State (March 20). On the season, Gray has rushed for 268 yards on 37 carries and scored three touchdowns (all against Jackson State), while Ryan Nettles – a two-time SWAC Newcomer of the Week – has passed for 406 yards and four touchdowns.
Nettles has spread the ball around for the Hornets in a pair of games, connecting with eight different receivers. Michael Jefferson leads all receivers with 13 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown, while Jahod Booker (8-89, 1 TD) and Terrance Ellis (7-50) have also added multiple catches for the Hornets. Jeremiah Hixon, returning from an injury that cut his 2019 season short, has five receptions for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, Alabama State has yielded an average of 312 yards per game and is led up the middle by Christian Clark (3 TT / 1 TFL) and Brandon Gaddy (4 TT, 1.5 TFL) on the defensive line. Colton Adams leads Alabama State overall with 18 tackles, while Irshaad Davis has added 13 including a pair of pass breakups. James Burgess and Rodney Echols have each added 11 and 10 tackles respectively for the Hornets.
Alabama State leads the all-time series 4-3, with the last meeting coming in 2005 – a South Carolina State victory.