The last time Jackson State football and coach Deion Sanders faced Southern, Jackson was the center of college football. ESPN's "College GameDay" made its first trip to JSU, and the Tigers responded with a 35-0 victory over the Jaguars.
Southern returns to Jackson State on Saturday for another momentous occasion in the Sanders era with the Tigers. JSU (11-0, 8-0 SWAC) looks to win consecutive conference titles with a victory over the Jaguars (7-4, 5-3 ) in the SWAC Championship game at 3 p.m.
Sanders doesn't want his team to forget the first matchup.
“We don’t want them to forget everything,” Sanders said. “That’s a lie. We want them to remember that whooping. We want them to remember how they performed. We want them to remember that but we also want them to perfect what we did last time.”
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Jackson State's defense has been stellar since its shutout victory over Southern. JSU has limited their opponents to 13.3 points per game in the last three games. The Tigers led the conference, holding opponents to 10.1 points per game, and that was reflected in the all-conference teams.
Jackson State had 12 players selected to All-SWAC teams, including offensive player of the year Shedeur Sanders and defensive player of the year Aubrey Miller Jr. Deion Sanders was selected as the conference coach of the year amid speculation of leaving for another program. He confirmed Monday that Colorado had offered him its head coaching position.
But he doesn't believe that's been distraction ahead of the SWAC championship.
“My team cares about what we tell them and how we work,” Deion Sanders said. “Y’all act like these kids are crazy. You know darn well when you win this kind of stuff happens, everyone wants a piece of you. Everyone’s calling you this and calling you that. That’s part of life.”
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Other programs are calling about Deion Sanders as well, but the third-season coach doubled-down on his support of Jackson State. The Tigers will host consecutive conference title games and have a chance to deliver the program's first Celebration Bowl victory.
However, it starts with a win on Saturday to extended the program's historic unbeaten run in front of the Jackson faithful.
“I’m proud,” Sanders said. “I’m pleased. I feel like this is the best fanbase in FCS football, by far. I think this is the best fan base in HBCU football (and) has been for quite some time and we have work to do. We’re not finished.”
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Deion Sanders on Colorado offer, Jackson State in SWAC title game