Deion Sanders and Jackson State take their nationally-ranked show on the road again, this time to Jacksonville, FL to take on Bethune-Cookman.
The game between the two SWAC programs will take place at TIAA Bank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be broadcast live on ESPN + and replayed on ESPNU.
Jackson State enters the game 5-0 for the first time since 1996 with a 26-12 win at Alabama State. It is ranked no. 7 in the FCS Coaches Poll and tied for 8th in the STATS FCS poll, as well as being the unanimous no. 1 team in the HBCU Gameday Staff Poll (FCS). The JSU offense is led by sophomore quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who is having a banner season.
Sanders is among FCS leaders in four categories: second in completions per game (30.2), third in total offense (357.6) and fourth in passing yards (1,726) and touchdown passes (17), and sixth in points responsible for (114).
JSU ranks in the FCS Top 11 defensively in seven categories: 1st in total defense (185.0 ypg) and third down conversions (21,7%), 2nd in scoring defense (9.8 ppg), passing defense (111.4), and fewest first downs allowed (58), fifth in rushing defense (72.4 ypg), and 11th in total sacks (18).
Bethune-Cookman comes into Saturday’s matchup 1-4. Its lone win came in Week Four as it beat Grambling State. BCU is led offensively by Jalon Jones, a former Jackson State quarterback who spent last season at a JUCO. Jones is currently third in the SWAC in passing yards per game (201) behind Sanders and FAMU’s JEREMY MOUSSA. BCU is third in the SWAC in yards per game (377). Unfortunately, it is next-to-last in defensive yardage, allowing teams to compile better than 442 yards per game.
Beyond the numbers, Bethune-Cookman is dealing with the impact of Hurricane Ian. The storm damaged its Daytona Beach, FL location and the football program has been forced to operate in satellite locations since it hit in late September.