When Jackson State travels to Normal, AL to take on Alabama A&M, it will be one of the most anticipated games of the HBCU football season.
Broadcast: ESPN Plus
Time: 2 PM CST/3 PM EST
Location: Louis Crews Stadium — Normal, AL
Here are three reasons why it is a must-watch.
Jackson State vs. AAMU: The Sequel
Saturday’s game will be the second time in six months that the two teams have squared off against each other. Alabama A&M won the spring matchup between the pair 52-42 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium back in April. AAMU went on an aerial assault behind Aqeel Glass, who threw for six touchdowns in a game that was broadcast on ESPN.
Of course, this Jackson State football team — particularly the defense — looks much different than it did just a short while ago.
The defense has only allowed 12.8 points per game and a SWAC-low four touchdowns. The Tigers sport the conference’s top-ranked pass defense at 141.5 yards per game to go with the second-ranked rush defense at 104.8 yards per game for an average of 246.3 yards per game, best in the SWAC.
JSU’s offense is now led by Shedeur Sanders, who has been solidly efficient for a freshman as JSU has gotten off to a 3-1 start.
AAMU is coming off its first loss since the 2019 season last Saturday as it fell to Grambling State.
Coach Chit Chat
Another storyline in addition to the Xs and Os are the men that make them. AAMU head coach Connell Maynor made a tongue-in-cheek remark back in the spring about how his only advice to Deion Sanders would be “get more five-stars.” Then, earlier this week, Maynor jokingly asked Sanders if he had a scooter that he could borrow, as Sanders has proudly displayed his scooter after undergoing foot surgery.
Both times Sanders insisted he wasn’t interested in trash-talking and would “take the high road.” However, on Monday he did mention that he was very good with the verbal jousting if he felt it was necessary.
Many people took exception to Maynor’s joke, but he made it clear it was just some good old-fashioned ribbing.
This game has all of the makings of must-see college football, including a big bearing on the rankings. Both teams enter the contest 1-0 in SWAC East play, with wins against division foes — Alabama A&M over Bethune-Cookman and Jackson State over FAMU.
A win for JSU would make it 2-0 against the teams picked to finish first and second in the SWAC East, meaning it would hold a potential tie-breaker over the others in terms of the division title. An AAMU win would also make it 2-0 in the division and then make next week’s matchup against FAMU another wildly important game in the new-look SWAC.