By Tim Ward,
53,578 was the number of people announced in attendance at the homecoming game this past weekend. People were everywhere. Smiling, laughing, dancing with the band, waving pom poms, Greek organizations doing their thing, and JSU alumni from the band to the Jsettes all had themselves a great time.
Speaking of the Jsettes, they celebrated their 50 year anniversary. The Thrill of a Billion eyes brought back Jsettes from the very first group to the current group of Jsettes. Best part about it, their age didn’t stop them from dancing. October 16 has been officially constituted as Jackson State University Prancing J-Settes Day by the Mississippi State Senate.
On the field, JSU came out a little flat, sluggish, not showing the same intensity of the previous week. The Alabama A&M game was personal. This one started off as business as usual. The defense, which has been rock solid all season, continued to irritate yet another opponent. They pressured Alabama State quarterback Myles Crawley often, but only sacked him once. A big difference from the 10 sacks a week ago. While the defense didn’t get him on the ground, the constant pressure affecting his throwing. Crawley only completed 9 of 26 passes for 117 yards. He did have a touchdown pass. Ezra Gray paced the Hornets running game with 36 yards on 14 carries.
In the third quarter, JSU woke up. Shedeur Sanders connected with Malachi Wideman for a touchdown and Santee Marshall scored on a 4 yard scamper. Shedeur Sanders was 17 of 29 for 201 yards with two touchdown passes. Unlike the previous week, Sanders was also sacked 3 times. Running back Santee Marshall fell 3 yards short of 100 yards on 24 carries. JD Martin provided some punch gaining 43 yards on 5 carries.
Martin’s 21 yard touchdown run early in the 4th quarter would be the final score for Jackson State. Jackson State won the game 28-7 much to the delight of the historic crowd.
Jackson State improves to 5-1. Bethune Cookman comes to Jackson this weekend. Bethune Cookman is playing their first season as members of the SWAC. They were previously in the MEAC conference. It’s been a rough season for the Wildcats, winless in the SWAC at 0-4 and winless overall at 0-7. Playing a hot JSU squad does not bode well to receive their first win of the season.
Jackson State has won 3 in a row and sits alone in the first place in the East of the SWAC.
Coach Deion Sanders does not want to be the first team to give Bethune Cookman their first win of the season.
(See homecoming photos on pages 8-9.)