The Tennessee State (TSU) Tigers headed to Memphis to take on Deon Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers in their annual matchup in the Southern Heritage Classic on Saturday. The game was tight early, with the Tigers defense holding the Jackson State offense at bey, eventually keeping the game tight with the score 10-7 at halftime. After halftime though, the Tigers just could not get it going offensively while Jackson State found their rhythm to the tune of 28 points, as they took control and won the game 38-16, dropping Tennessee State to 0-2 on the season and boosting Jackson State to 2-0 on the young season.
Even in victory though, Jackson State head coach Deon Sanders was not happy. “We ended horribly. We ended like hot garbage. We didn’t finish. We didn’t put the exclamation point at the end of the sentence. We got complacent. We want to dance and be in joy on the sidelines and we still got a game going on. And then we put the second unit in it to finish it out and they go out there and fumble the ball and then the defense goes out there and gives up a deep ball and then we forgot to go out there on the onside kick team because we over there taking pictures on the sidelines. That’s not championship football. That’s not acceptable.”
As far as TSU Headcoach Eddie George, he had a message of positivity for his team. “I look at the positives in the situation. The fact that we cut down on our penalties and we only turned the ball over once. We just have to go back to work. This is not going to be an overnight success, it is going to be a long process.”
There was an additional buzz because it was the first time two former NFL players coached two HBCUs against each other in a football game.
Jackson State was led offensively by freshman quarterback Shadeur Sanders who went 30/40 for 362 yards and three touchdowns on the way to being named Southern Heritage Classic MVP. Defensively, Jackson State was led by Florida transfer James Houston with 4.5 sacks.
Tennessee State was led offensively by quarterback Jeremy Hickbottom, who was 9/15 for 138 yards and 1 touchdown.
Tennessee State plays Kentucky State next Saturday, September 18th in the John Merritt Classic from Nissan Stadium at 2 pm CST.