JACKSON, Miss. -- Ryan Rich returned one of his two interceptions 21 yards for a touchdown and added a safety as Jackson State defeated Alcorn State 26-21 on Saturday.
Jackson State (7-4, 6-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) defeated Alcorn State (2-10, 1-6) for the second consecutive year, but had to hold off a 21-point rally in the second half.
Rich's interception pushed the Tigers' lead to 21-0 in the second quarter after Trae Rutland scored on a 5-yard run on the first possession of the game. Edward Lee added a 1-yard scoring run for the Tigers to open the scoring.
After Eric Perri added a 34-yard field goal with 9:13 left in the third quarter, Rich sacked Tim Buckley in the end zone to put the Tigers ahead 26-0 midway through the third.
Alcorn State (2-10, 1-6) fought back with 14 fourth-quarter points on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Buckley to Emmanuel Arceneaux, and Lee Robinson's 11-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Buckley, who finished with 185 yards passing, found Elliott Moore on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 5:18 left in the game to bring Alcorn State within 26-21.
But Jackson State, which held Alcorn State to 68 yards in the first half, sacked Buckley on consecutive plays in the final three minutes of the game.