MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Alabama State jumped on top of Bethune-Cookman early in the first half and pulled away for a 38-24 victory in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opener for the Hornets on Saturday night.
Alabama State (2-1, 1-0 SWAC) took an early 7-0 lead, scoring on their first drive that covered 65 yards in 12 plays. The Hornets took the lead with 10:12 to play on a 12-yard pass from Ryan Nettles (Evergreen, Ala.) to Wallace Corker (Stockbridge, Ga.). The drive was the first of three consecutive drives that led to touchdowns for Alabama State.
After Bethune-Cookman (0-4, 0-2 SWAC) tied the game with 6:22 to play in the first quarter, Alabama State took the lead on a 20-yard pass from Nettles to Jeremiah Hixon (Monroeville, Ala.) to take a 14-7 lead. They extended the lead to two touchdowns on a Jacory Merritt (Montgomery, Ala.) one-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
The Wildcats were able to cut the lead to 21-17 in the first half with 10 unanswered points, before Merritt went in from one yard out with 4:50 to play in the opening half that extended the lead to 28-17 heading into the locker room.
Alabama State put the game away with a two-yard touchdown from Ezra Gray (Lynn Haven, Fla.) with 6:31 to play in the third quarter, before Cosmin Diaconu (Prattville, Ala.) connected on a 30-yard field goal with 9:27 to play in the contest that extended the lead to 38-17. Bethune-Cookman added a late touchdown with 8:11 to play for the final margin.
ASU put up 378 yards of total offense on the day. It limited BCU to just 12 yards on the ground.