The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


PREVIEW AND PICK: Southern Miss Set to Host a Confident Alcorn State Braves for 2023 Season Opener. “We’re going down there to win a football game”

Brent Wallace

Southern Miss is set to host the Alcorn State Braves to open the 2023 football season. This is the first time in four seasons that Southern Miss will open with an FCS foe. The last time was in 2019 when Southern Miss beat Alcorn State 38-10.  

The Braves were picked second in the preseason media poll to win their division of the SWAC and look to dethrone Jackson State in the race for the SWAC title. Last season, Alcorn State posted a 5-6 record, losing to Jackson State by 11 points in their final game. They also played the same opponent that Southern Miss did in Tulane, losing that matchup 52-0. Of course, Southern Miss would beat Tulane 27-24.  

Last season, Alcorn State averaged just 20.7 points per game and accumulated only 27 touchdowns through their eleven games. They do not score the ball much, but they play good defense.   

The Braves are playing in the tough SWAC west division in 2023, which last year saw four separate teams having a chance to win the crown in the final weeks. The Southern Jaguars eventually clinched the division after beating Grambling State. This year will see no change in the tightness of the race in the SWAC west, and the Braves have a great shot at coming on top. Southern Miss head coach Will Hall has said that he thinks and picks that Alcorn will win their respective division and potentially even the SWAC.  

Alcorn State made the most significant roster shuffle in the SWAC after grabbing Tyler Macon out of the transfer portal from Missouri. Macon was a former four-star recruit and one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class. He was ranked as the 13th-best dual-threat quarterback by and Macon had offers from multiple universities, including Michigan State, UCLA, and Illinois.   

Unfortunately for Macon, he did not see much playing time at Missouri. He played a handful of snaps in 2021 and none in 2022. After 2022, he entered the transfer portal and landed at Alcorn State. He might be the best quarterback the Braves have had facing Southern Miss in their history.  

 The Braves also welcome their All-SWAC running back, Jarveon Howard, who netted 1,270 yards and 12 touchdowns in his 2022 campaign. The rest of the Braves team might be more straightforward for Southern Miss to match up against, but this quarterback-running back duo will be very similar, if not just as good, to the Sun Belt teams that Southern Miss will face this season.  

 “We’re going down there to win a ball game. We’re not going down there to show up and collect a check. It’s not just a game.” Alcron State head coach Fred McNair told WLBT in Jackson. 

 This is no Northwestern State from last season; this team could win the SWAC with a former four-star recruit with the reigns taking the snaps. The Braves will give Southern Miss all they can handle, and it would not be a shock if this game looked a lot like it did in 2019, where Southern Miss only led 10-0 at halftime.  

 Southern Miss and Alcorn State have met three times, with Southern Miss leading the series 3-0. The closest Alcorn State came to beating Southern Miss was in 2014, where they lost 26-20 but were driving to take the lead in the final moments. 

It has been 36 years since Southern Miss last to a non-FBS program, Louisiana-Monroe, back when they were not a part of the FBS. Ironically, they now are in the Sun Belt with Southern Miss. I do not expect Alcorn State to end that streak. This game might be close at halftime, but the star power on offense for Southern Miss will be too much for the Braves to keep up. USM will blow this open in the second half.  

PICK: Southern Miss wins 45-17 

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