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Alcorn State Enjoys Its Classic Weekend in L.A.

October 01, 2006|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

A short but fruitful visit to Southern California probably could not have played out more perfectly for the Alcorn State football program.

The Braves flew out from southwest Mississippi on Thursday, toured the Southland on Friday, rolled to a 23-6 nonconference victory over Morehouse College of Atlanta on Saturday in front of 10,012 in the Coliseum and this morning will return home with a $100,000 check, their guarantee for playing in the Silver Dollar Classic.

It was the first time since 1989 that teams representing historically black colleges and universities had played in Los Angeles, and both teams hoped that making the trip would benefit their recruiting efforts in Southern California.

Alcorn State, which lost to Grambling State in the Coliseum on Sept. 3, 1989, benefited from a strong defensive effort against Morehouse, limiting the Maroon Tigers to 18 yards rushing in winning for the first time in four games this season. The defense also scored, Roderick Williams sacking Morehouse quarterback Ruben DuPree in the end zone for a second-quarter safety.

Michael Shepherd and Vernadus Cooper scored on short touchdown runs in helping the Braves build a 16-0 third-quarter lead.

In the fourth quarter, quarterback Chris Walker hooked up with wide receiver Nate Hughes on a 15-yard touchdown pass, capping a 90-yard drive after Morehouse (2-4) had closed to within 16-6 and then put together another long drive before wide receiver Achille Hendje lost a fumble inside Alcorn State's 15-yard line.

Cooper rushed for 121 yards in 14 carries, among them a 60-yard run to kick-start Alcorn State's final scoring drive.

Morehouse's DuPree completed 23 of 36 passes for 257 yards.

Both said they were thrilled to have played in the Coliseum, as did Charleston Brown, an Alcorn State safety from Hamilton High and Santa Monica College.

"It was a dream," Brown said. "Going to a black college, I didn't think it was going to happen for me. It was like 'Rudy,' just like 'Rudy.' "

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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