If Deion Sanders and Jackson State didn’t impress anyone in their opener, they made sure to do it in their first SWAC game.
Jackson State survived a back-and-forth rivalry game against Grambling State for a dramatic 33-28 win. The win not only gave Sanders his first SWAC win, it also ended a losing streak dating back to 2014 and GSU’s unblemished home record of the last four seasons.
Trailing by a point early in the fourth quarter, Jalon Jones threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day, a 20-yard strike to Warren Newman. Grambling mounted a potential game-winning drive late in the second half, but a fumble at the goal line sealed the win for Jackson State.
Jones finished the first half with eight completions to just one incompletion, with 127 yards through the air, including two touchdowns. The first was a 13-yard pass to former Louisville receiver Corey Reed with 11:34 remaining to put JSU up 7-0.
Grambling responded with a quarterback keeper by Hickbottom to tie the game with 8:04 to go. GSU would take the lead with a Keilon Elder plunge from the one.
Jones then went to work on the ground, picking up a score on a 4-yard run. The PAT was missed, however, leaving GSU up. Jones and the JSU offense would respond, however, as he found Daylen Baldwin for a 65-yard score.
And JSU wasn’t done. Tyson Alexander busted a 33-yard run to give his team a 27-14 lead at halftime.
This is what Deion Sanders had to say to his team at that point.
Hickbottom and the GSU offense got it going early in the second half, though, as he hit D.J. Clark for a 15-yard score to cut the margin to 27-21 early in the third quarter. A missed field goal attempt by JSU kept it a one-score game going into the fourth quarter.
And Grambling would seize its opportunity. A critical pass interference call in the endzone led to a two yard scoring run Keilon Elder to give GSU a 28-27 lead. Jones’ go-ahead touchdown would be the final score of the game.
Jackson State improves to 3-0 while Grambling drops to 1-1. Both teams were awarded a win via Alcorn State forfeit.