At halftime, the game was over. Jackson State football devastated Florida A&M 59-3 in the Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Sunday.
That’s the mindset that has been driving Tigers coach Deion Sanders. His goal for himself and for the team is to dominate in all areas of their lives on and off the pitch.
As the Tigers prepared for the season openerJackson had a water crisis and it made national headlines.
A state of emergency was declared by state Governor Tate Reeves and President Joe Biden after the city was left without running water.
Sanders felt he needed to teach his players the importance of overcoming adversity.
Sanders said he hopes football will give residents an outlet for their resilience and mental toughness. He said he was grateful to be this escape.
“I’d like to digress and send the love back to Jackson, Mississippi,” Sanders said after the game. “Throughout the game, it was an escape for a lot of folks who reside in Jackson who are dealing with this water situation. We’re definitely dealing with that as well.
Jackson State administration found hotels for the players and a practice facility to prepare for the game.
“How can we go out there and dominate like that, and bring a kid back to something that’s closed and where you don’t have water? You cannot flush the toilet. You have no air. You have to think about all of that,” Sanders said.
“Those are the thoughts that go through my head, making sure these kids are taken care of. How can we do everything we do, ask these kids to do what they did, ask these kids to play on national television, and then drive them back to insanity? That’s the kind of stuff that happens. »
The team focused on the laser in the first half against Florida A&M. Sophomore quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of Deion Sanders, was at one point 17 of 17 passing for 170 yards and threw for three touchdowns to give the Tigers a 21-0 lead.
After the match, Deion Sanders told the media that he was a little pissed because he learned his grandmother, Hattie Mae Mims, had died. Sanders acknowledged the news wasn’t pleasant, but the Tigers had a job to do because everyone in life is going through something.
“Grandma ran well. Grandmother was well over 90. Grandma was the patriarch of our family. Grandma took me to church. It was Grandma who told me about the lord,” Sanders said.
“Grandmother was the one I stayed with when I was ignorant. Grandma kicked my ass. Grandma used to look out the window when I was crossing the street to hoop and play ball and I would see this little face looking out the window because I knew I had to be home before it is not dark. Because grandma didn’t play. Grandmother was disciplinary. Grandmother was a God-fearing woman until the day she left. Grandma was everything. So I lost a real, real woman. A real woman.”
Sanders said he preaches dominance and the Tigers have also improved. Nothing less than dominance on and off the pitch. It was the second game in a row that FAMU did not score a TD against JSU.
Shedeur Sanders completed 29 of 33 passes for 323 yards, throwing for five touchdowns and finding 12 different receivers.
“Everything has slowed down for me this year,” Shedeur Sanders said. “I only take finishes and what the defense gives me.”
The defense was dominant with the return of defensive back Ke’Vric Wiggins Jr. and interceptions for a touchdown and linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr. returning a fumble for a touchdown.
Throughout the offseason, Sanders was reminded of how the season ended last year, losing to South Carolina State 31-10 in the Celebration Bowl.
Sanders said after the loss he drew a line in the sand and said his initial players would never be like they were a year ago and made it a priority to protect the quarterback.
“Today was not just about correction, it was about protection,” Sanders said, “that is, both sides of the ball. There are a lot of new faces and men who can go after the ball. We’re playing 60% with (freshman cornerback) Travis Hunter.
Sanders said the Tigers don’t play against SWAC, they don’t think like that. They are just trying to dominate. They don’t care what color the uniform is or what name is on the front or back.
The defense had nine threes and one outs. Sanders said he had time to find players who wanted him. Smart, fast, strong and mentally strong.
“We’re looking forward to the results we got today,” Sanders said. “We practice that way.”
Sanders said he was building the prototype program. He knows that preparation is the key to success.
“We’re deep,” Sanders said. “You can go from first to third team in one practice. We are so deep. We have to get on with it because we will continue. Life is not going to wait for you. We don’t just give football lessons; we teach life lessons.
This is the attitude and style that opposing teams have to deal with in the coming season.