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HTS 2018: Alcorn State

We’ve played the Braves once, in a game to remember, in a season you’d probably be wise to forget.

Alcorn v Georgia Tech Getty Images

Welcome to From the Rumble Seat’s weekly history class. Throughout the season, each unit in this class will examine the head-to-head matchups of our opponents in the 2018 season. Week one will feature Alcorn State. Though there are twelve teams on the schedule, who we are a combined 214-196-12 against, we’ve played the season-opening Alcorn State Braves 43 less times than last year’s opening opponent, Tennessee. The Jackets and Braves last faced off in 2015. There will be a quiz a month from - wait, I’m not a professor? Shoot. Anyways, read on to find out just what happened the last time Tech squared off against Alcorn State.

Alcorn State Braves

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference (FCS)
  • Location: Lowman, Mississippi
  • Home Stadium: Jack Spinks Stadium (Capacity: 22,500)
  • FCS National Championships: N/A
  • FCS Playoff Appearances*: 1984, 1992, 1994 (0 - 3)
  • Conference Championships: 15 - 1947, 1950, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1984, 1992, 1994, 2014, 2015 (SWAC)
  • Division Championships: 4 - 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (SWAC)
  • 2017 Season Record: 7 - 5 (5 - 2 SWAC)

* - The Southwestern Athletic Conference does not participate in the FCS Playoffs, due to historical Thanksgiving Day classics, and the tie-in to the Celebration Bowl against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which serves as the de-facto HBCU (Historically black colleges and universities) national championship. Alcorn State has won said championship five times, in 1968, 1969, 1974, 1984, and 2014.

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 1-0-0 (1.000)
  • Recent Meetings:
    2015, Week One: 69-6 (at Georgia Tech)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (0.000)

2018 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
September 1 12:30 p.m. Alcorn State Southwestern Athletic 2-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 41 - 0 W FCS
September 8 12:00 p.m. @ South Florida American Athletic 0-1-0 Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, FL 38 - 49 L First Meeting, Group of Five
September 15 12:30 p.m. @ Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-8-0 Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA 19 - 24 L
September 22 3:30 p.m. Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-31-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 21 - 49 L Rivalry, Hall of Fame Day
September 29 12:00 p.m. Bowling Green Mid-American 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 63 - 17 W First Meeting, Family Weekend, Group of Five
October 5 7:00 p.m. @ Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Cardinal Stadium - Louisville, KY 66 - 31 W First Meeting
October 13 12:20 p.m. Duke Atlantic Coast 51-34-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 14 - 28 L Homecoming
October 25 7:30 p.m. @ VPISU Atlantic Coast 7-9-0 Lane Stadium - Blacksburg, VA 49 - 28 W Rivalry
November 3 12:15 p.m. @ North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-21-3 Kenan Memorial Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC 38 - 28 W
November 10 7:00 p.m. Miami Atlantic Coast 12-12-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 27 - 21 W Whiteout
November 17 3:30 p.m. Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-19-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 30 - 27 W (OT) Senior Day
November 24 12:00 p.m. @ u[sic]ga Southeastern 44-67-5 Sanford Stadium - Athens, GA 45 - 21 L Rivalry
December 26 5:15 p.m. vs. Minnesota Big Ten 0-0-0 Ford Field - Detroit, MI - First Meeting

To Make a Short Story Long:

Georgia Tech starts the year on the Flats this weekend against the Alcorn State Braves of the Southwestern Conference. Since it’s been a long, cold winter, we might as well take a look back at the past history between the two teams. History may not be everything in determining the outcome of future games in college football, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant in looking at where these two teams have been in the past.

The Alcorn State Braves first played in 1921. They were initially an independent team for their first two decades of existence before joining the South Central Athletic Conference in 1942. They were a member for another two decades before that conference was dissolved, and they joined their current conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), along with several other HBCUs. Two years later, the conference joined the NAIA, a college sports governing body a tier below that of the NCAA. From there, the group moved to the NCAA “College Division,” a forerunner to the lower two divisions of the NCAA today. In 1977, the SWAC moved once again up to Division I, and became one of the charter members of what is now the Football Championship Subdivision, of FCS.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a biweekly look at football history since the beginning of the summer over at Rearview Mirror. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously with a middling season in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the proudest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythical origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname, as well as how Tech got its colors. Tech was, to put it nicely, pitiful, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he left town (no spoilers yet) and was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his academic support and, yet again, championship. Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protege Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more, and had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for its football scheduling and prominence, but its foundational academic principles as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in a “Notre Dame of the South” status. Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference by the beginning of the 1980s. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets seemingly from nowhere to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jackets have an all-time record of 723-490-43.

Alcorn State and Georgia Tech last faced off in 2015. Locating the endzone proved to be a challenge in the game - for one of the teams. While Tech found daylight ten times against the Braves, the visitors avoided getting shutout against the reigning Orange Bowl champions by working their way into the end zone early in the second half. Quarterback Justin Thomas was 34 for 54 yards and a touchdown through the air and another on the ground. Meanwhile A-Back TaQuon Marshall managed 42 yards while freshman “running back of the future” Marcus Marshall scored twice times and piled up 184 yards in his debut for the Jackets, which is a very out-of-date sentence by now. Patrick Skov piled up three touchdowns and four other Yellow Jackets scored as well. As time would later tell, this game wasn’t an indicator of how the rest of the season would go, but, for one day at least, there was a good, old-fashioned win on the Flats. What wholesome fun.

Since that day, Alcorn State has changed their coaches, swapping Jay Hopson, the first white coach in the history of the SWAC, winner of two conference titles in his time at Alcorn State, with Fred McNair after Hopson replaced Todd Monken at Southern Miss, where he’s also seen a fair bit of success. Meanwhile, McNair, member of the Alcorn State Class of 1990, has picked up well where Hopson left off, making the conference championship in each of his two seasons at the helm of the Braves.

This year, the Jackets face off against the Braves (1-0-0 all time) in week one at Bobby Dodd Stadium at 12:30 pm. The game will be aired on the Regional Sports Network and can be heard over the radio on 680 AM / 93.7 FM.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!