Jackson State football, Deion Sanders drop Grambling State 66-24

Jackson State’s defense eventually had to bend. The Tigers gave up their first touchdown of the season in Saturday’s matchup against Grambling State — a 73-yard touchdown run from junior Maurice Washington as time expired in the first quarter — followed by a Shedeur Sanders fumble returned for a 23-yard touchdown by Bryan Powell.

However, coach Deion Sanders and undefeated Jackson State (3-0, 2-0 SWAC) didn’t break in Saturday’s home-opening 66-24 victory over Grambling State (1-2, 0-1).

Jackson State opened the game with a short field following a Grambling State fumble. Shedeur Sanders capped off an eight-play, 21-yard drive with a one yard TD. Shedeur Sanders finished with six total touchdowns, 325 passing yards and 31 rushing yards in the victory.

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The Tigers couldn't have asked for a better start defensively, forcing a fumble and an interception in Grambling first three drives. Jackson State capitalized on Quaterius Hawkins' interception with five-yard touchdown run for Sy'veon Wilkerson. The sophomore running back finished with 20 carries for 139 yards.

However, Jackson State and Grambling State were tied at 14-14 with 14:11 left in the second quarter following Powell's fumble returned for a touchdown. Grambling State used two fumbles to hang around in the first half before Shedeur Sanders and Jackson State pulled away.

Jackson State running back J.D. Martin (8) tries to push through Grambling's offensive line during an NCAA college football game in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger, via AP)
Jackson State running back J.D. Martin (8) tries to push through Grambling's offensive line during an NCAA college football game in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger, via AP)

Jackson State scored 24 unanswered points in the third quarter behind Shedeur Sanders and Wilkerson. Shedeur Sanders opened the second half with a 26-yard TD pass to junior J.D. Martin. The Tigers scored on four consecutive drives in the third quarter, capped off with an 11-yard TD run from Wilkerson followed by a 16-yard TD scramble from Shedeur Sanders.

Jackson State's quarterback wasn't finished. Shedeur Sanders connected with Christian Allen for an 86-yard TD strike and Daniels for a 23-yard TD in Jackson State's opening two possessions of the fourth quarter. Three of Shedeur Sanders' four passing touchdowns went to Daniels. He finished with five catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns.

The Jackson State defense limited Grambling State to one touchdown in the second half, a 74-yard touchdown pass from Hawkins to Lyndon Rash but that was the bulk of their production. Grambling State had 121 yards of offense and six first downs in the second half.

Hawkins finished 12-of-30 for 123 yards and two interceptions and Washington led the way with 78 rushing yards. Grambling State's defense had three sacks and was led by Jaylon Turner with 10 total tackles.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Jackson State football dominates second half vs Grambling State