Freshman quarterback Myles Crawley lit up the stat sheet passing for four touchdowns and 292 yards in his first college start. Crawley, a native of nearby Atlanta, GA, led the Hornets to a convincing 35-15 homecoming win over the visiting Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions.
Seven Hornets receivers were on the receiving end of at least one of Crawley’s 20 completions. Injuries to starter Ryan Nettles and backup Joe Owens forced Head coach Dr. Donald Hill-Eley to look further down the depth chart to Crawley. Owens had a successful showing completing 7 passes for 82 yards in a loss to Florida A&M.
“We had two quarterbacks down and we had to move Trevor (Robinson) over just in case anything happened with Myles,” said Hill-Eley. Crawley answered the call after only handling seven snaps prior to Saturday. “For him (Crawley) to come in from four snaps a game to 75 snaps a game, we’ll take it,” added Hill-Eley.
The carnage inflicted on the Golden Lions was a welcome turnabout after getting shut out in Tallahassee. A great performance on homecoming was a welcome antidote. There are plenty of unwritten rules in football. Scheduling a team for homecoming typically means the home team expects to win. Some see it as bulletin board material.
Alabama State led 21-3 after three quarters. Jeremiah Hixon scored on 18- and 51-yard receptions from Crawley. Irshaad Davis set up the first score forcing the ball out of the arms of Golden Lions RB Kier Crossley that linebacker Nicholas Terry scooped up for a 12-yard gain. One play later, Hixon eluded a tackle and coasted into the end zone.
Special teams ended the Golden Lions’ first scoring attempt early in the second quarter. Naytron Culpepper blocked Zac Piwniczka 38-yard field goal attempt with his chest.
Crawley and company capitalized on the stop with a 9-play, 83-yard drive punctuated by Hixon’s second TD.
Pine Bluff finally got in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Xzavie Vaughn needed only two pass completions thanks to a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Vaughn dropped a gem over the shoulder and into the waiting arms of Daemo Dawkins in the end zone.
Dalyn Hill took a short pass from Vaughn on a 70-yard cross-country jaunt for the Golden Lions’ second touchdown on their next possession.
Keenan Isaac hammered the final nail in the Golden Lions’ coffin on the ensuing kickoff. Isaac caught Piwniczka’s onside kick in the air and sprinted untouched for a 37-yard score.
Battle of the Bands
Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4), the Golden Girls, and the 24Karat Golden Silks
Good sound from a small band (by SWAC standards). M4 came to slay and it showed. Each formation and transition was crisp and clean. The Golden Girls were a leap away from a clean performance. Still, the visitors delivered the halftime show the home team should have.
Mighty Marching Hornets, Stingettes, Honey Bees
The halftime performance was good. It wasn’t what is usually expected for homecoming. The band, like the football team, is supposed to let it all go. When the band formed 90’s on the field, the 9 looked like a backward across between a backward P (Times New Roman font). The lines on subsequent formations were far from straight. Again, more is expected for homecoming. It was a pleasant performance. Watch the video put together by the Mighty Marching Hornets Media crew. The sound cuts out midway through so suffer through it or scrub to the best part of the show -the 7-minute mark. The Honey Bees brought the energy by joining the Stingettes dancing to BBD’s Poison in tribute to the 90s and the Hornets’ 1991 National Championship team.
Game Photo Gallery
All photos by Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360