Lions lose heartbreaker to in-state rival

The Lions entered Saturdays game with a 1-1 record after a devastating loss to Montana 61-17. North Alabama drops two ina row after losing to Alabama A&M 31-24 on a last drive fumble caused by a sack from the Aggie defense, they fall to 2-1.

Saturday night Braly Stadium was filled with over 12,000 fans to watch the UNA Lions take on an old rival in Alabama A&M for the first time at home since 1996. The Lions lost 31-24 to the Bulldogs in their second home game of the year after leading 18-0 at the half leaving a feeling of disappointment in the air of Braly Stadium as fans left to go to their cars.

The Lions received the ball first and only needed 5 plays to drive 73-yards and score a touchdown on a 19-yard run by Terence Humphrey putting the Lions up 6-0. They would only need 5 minutes to score again with a field goal from Joe Gurley to take a 9-0 lead. Gurley would add another field goal with 1:07 left in the first quarter to take 12-0 lead.

The second quarter was mostly uneventful after a 14-yard run by Ron Thompson

with 14:56 left in the quarter putting the Lions up 18-0. This lead would last up to the half thanks to a strong effort by the Lions defense. We just played how we are suppose to play,” defensive tackle Brodric Martin said. “We were filling holes; defense was stopping them. We watch film constantly and we knew what they were going to do.” The senior defensive tackle was a key part in why the Lions defense held the Bulldogs offense to zero when the Bulldogs score on average 34.5 points per game.

After halftime the Bulldogs offense wasted no time scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter and another touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter while holding the Lions to just two field goals in the same amount of time. However, the Lions would still have the ball down by 7 points with less than two minutes remaining. The drive would end on a fumble by quarterback Christian Lopez that was recovered by the Bulldogs. After two plays Alabama A&M would run out the clock ending the game.

“We just couldn’t finish,” Lopez said. “We would drive the field or have little miscommunications which you can’t do against good teams.” Lopez believed that one of the key areas in the loss if not the biggest area, was the lack of offensive production throughout the second half.

The Lions travel to Jacksonville State next Saturday to take on the 2-1 Gamecocks in an exciting matchup that looks to restart the rivalry that these two programs have had in the past.