Saturday is a big day as Deion Sanders and Jackson State will return home for the first time this fall. Last fall, JSU led the FCS with an average of over 42,000 fans per game.
This fall, however, Jackson has been dealing with a water crisis that has crippled the city and also impacted the football program. But just days before the home opener, Sanders says his team is still planning to take the field against Grambling State at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on Sept. 17.
“I don’t care if everybody has to bring a cup of water. We’re good. Everyone bring a bottle of water,” Sanders said with a smile at his weekly media conference. “We’re good. This city is resilient. They’re not. They’re not one to cry about yesterday. They’re type of city that presses on and they’re saying, “okay, this is what it is — let’s roll with it. We got it. Let us just know what it is.”
“And that’s the kind of city Jackson is, and I respect the heck out of them for that. So we’re just happy that we get an opportunity to play in front of our home fans and give them some relief from the trials and tribulations of life. And we don’t want to disappoint them.”
Jackson State heads into the game 2-0, ranked no. 11 in the FCS Coaches poll and ranked no. 1 in the HBCU Gameday FCS poll. It faces a Grambling State program coming off its first win under new head coach Hue Jackson last week against Northwestern State.
“This is a different team than they were even a year ago,” Sanders said. “They’re playing really tough, hard-nosed football. They’re running the ball successfully. Defense, they’re going after it.”
Grambling comes into the game 1-1, putting up 46 points in the Week Two win. Deion Sanders has taken note of the threat GSU poses offensively.
“First game was you know, it wasn’t that pretty. But the second game they came through with the W,” Sanders said. “This team…they have Coach Jackson’s personality man they know what they’re doing. They’re not making a lot of mistakes and they can get the ball up and down the field.”