MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) Ryan Nettles threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes and Jacory Merritt had two short scoring runs in the second period as Alabama State breezed to a 38-24 victory over Bethune-Cookman in its Southwestern Athletic Conference opener on Saturday.

Nettles fired a 12-yard TD to Wallace Corker to open the scoring for the Hornets (2-1, 1-0) and, after Jimmie Robinson III scored on a 4-yard run to pull the Wildcats even, connected with Jeremiah Hixson for a 20-yard TD and a lead they never relinquished. Merritt scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the second quarter to push Alabama State's lead to 21-7. A field goal and Robinson's second TD run pulled the Wildcats (0-4, 0-2) within 21-17, but Merritt again ran it in from a yard out and the Hornets took a 11-point lead into halftime.

Ezra Gray stretched Alabama State's lead to 35-17 with a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter.

Alabama State travels to play Florida A&M on Saturday, while Bethune-Cookman heads to South Carolina State on Saturday in search of its first win of the season.


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