Cyrus ran the ball 26 times with only one carry going for negative yards. He also had a 70-yard touchdown catch to give the Alabama State (1-1) a 17-2 lead early in the third quarter.
Tennessee State (1-1) trailed 27-8 at the start of the fourth quarter but scored two touchdowns to close the gap to 27-21 with 4:33 left. The Tigers then got the ball back right away, stopping Alabama State with a three-and-out.
Tennessee State drove deep into Hornets territory before Alabama State made a game-winning stand on fourth-and-20 with 18 seconds to go.
Najee Bright led the Hornets defense with two interceptions and a 63-yard touchdown return on a blocked kick recovery early in the second quarter.