After an unprecedented spring season for first-time head coach Deion Sanders, Jackson State fans waited 148 days to ascertain what Sanders’s staff would orchestrate in Year 2. However, for Florida A&M, the Rattlers graced the gridiron for the primary time in 652 days to face Jackson State on Sunday within the Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida—a game that hasn’t been played in 43 years.
Between 1933 to 1978, the Orange Blossom Classic was considered the unofficial Black national championship game, featuring FAMU and another HBCU. the sport was initially scheduled for fall 2020 but was postponed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAMU—Jackson State tilt was highly anticipated with the coaching matchup of Willie Simmons vs. Sanders, Shedeur Sanders’s college debut alongside the highest-rated recruiting class in FCS and HBCU history and therefore the potential for exciting offensive performances.
Instead, there have been 12 punts, 20 penalties, and five turnovers (three for Jackson State), 8-for-31 on third-down conversions, and 13 points among both teams. But, in any sport, it isn’t about which team averages the foremost yards but the one that creates the critical plays when it matters the foremost. And on Sunday afternoon, ahead of fans and former NFL wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson, it had been Jackson State who came out on top, defeating FAMU 7-6 during a contest that came all the way right down to the ultimate seconds. Following the Tigers’ victory, Sanders and JSU athletic director Ashley Robinson embraced the sector with Robinson filled with emotion.
“Yeah baby, yeah baby, we here, we here,” Robinson told Sanders. But, before that heartfelt embrace between Robinson and Sanders, it had been a troublesome hour because the game showcased flashes of talent also as room for improvement.
In his debut, Shedeur Sanders bobbled the primary snap of the sport deep within the Tigers’ territory but shook off the first game jitters and three first-half turnovers to end 18-for-24, throwing for 221 yards and rushing for the game’s only touchdown. And, that score didn’t come for the Tigers until early within the second quarter. After Sheduer completed a 32-yard pass to Trevonte Rucker (a freshman wide receiver who finished with three catches for 83 yards) right down to the Rattlers’ six-yard line, FAMU was hit with a penalty for roughing the passer on Shedeur, fixing first and goal for Jackson State. a few of plays later, Shedeur called his own number and punched it within the end zone to offer the Tigers a 7-3 advantage and therefore the game’s only touchdown.