After a historic offensive performance in the team’s 52-43 win over Jackson State Saturday, Alabama A&M is getting some recognition.
The Bulldogs entered the FCS Coaches Poll this week in a tie for the 25th spot with Mercer.
Despite a 35-day layoff between games, the Bulldogs' offense appeared to be in mid-season form against the Tigers. Playing for only the second time this season, Aqeel Glass threw for six touchdowns and 440 yards with zero picks, adding another score with his legs, as the Bulldogs took down Jackson State.
The 50-point performance was only the team's ninth since moving to division one and largest against a D1 opponent since 2008. Head coach Connell Maynor said he really wasn’t that surprised by Glass’ performance since that's what he sees out of him at practice every day.
“A man amongst boys,” Maynor said. “He was just so poised and knew exactly where he was going with the ball and that comes from understanding the defense that they’re playing, understanding the offensive play call that we have, knowing exactly where he wants to start and where he wants to go if he don't get it and he just executed at an unbelievable level. He showed the nation why he’s the number 20th ranked quarterback in America and I need to probably stop saying top-20 ranked because he’s probably went lower than that with that performance that he just had.”
For that performance, Glass picked up several weekly honors, including SWAC player of the week, but the senior quarterback said he couldn’t have done it without his receivers and had high praise for the entire group.
“I believe that they’re the best in the nation -- FCS, FBS, anywhere,” Glass said. “We got about six to seven guys that are viable to have 100 plus yards in a single game by themselves, so we’ve got a lot of weapons.”
Looking back on the win, Maynor gave his team an “A+” on offense but only a “C” on defense, saying that the defensive struggles could be attributed to a lack of hitting at practice during their intermission.
Now, controlling their own destiny, the Bulldogs are looking ahead to the “biggest” game of the year -- the Magic City Classic. Facing their in-state rival Alabama State Hornets, Alabama A&M has a chance to punch a ticket to the SWAC championship game with a win.
The team was also in a win-and-in position last year, but couldn’t finish. Coach Maynor said that things need to be different this time.
“We in position,” he said. “We expect to be here, we expect to win, we expect to play well, now we gotta go out and do it. And we have to get prepared. We’ve still got a couple more days to work and so we gotta put the work in and get prepared and then go out and execute on Saturday night.”
“Finishing’s everything,” Glass added.
Kickoff from Legion Field is slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.