February 4, 2023

Deion Sanders suffers heartbreaking defeat in his final game as Jackson State coach as Tigers Celebration Bowl loses to NC Central in OT…

Deion Sanders was sentimental before his last game at Jackson State, and those emotions mounted after coming up short in the Celebration Bowl for the second year in a row.

Quarterback Davius ​​Richard ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard scoring plunge in overtime, and North Carolina Central defeated Jackson State 41-34 on Saturday in the Celebration Bowl to end Sanders’ bid for an undefeated season in his bye to spoil.

It was the second consecutive season that Sanders’ Tigers were favored before losing in the game considered the championship of historically black college and university teams.

Deion Sanders cries for safety - and his son - Shilo Sanders during Jackson State's defeat

Deion Sanders cries for safety – and his son – Shilo Sanders during Jackson State’s defeat

Coach Prime stands next to his other son and quarterback, Shedeur Sanders after the game

Coach Prime stands next to his other son and quarterback, Shedeur Sanders after the game

“I feel like we won, but we didn’t win that game,” said Sanders, who will now devote his full attention to his new job as Colorado coach. He was tearful in a pregame speech to his players.

“I miss these guys already. I love them,” Sanders said after the game.

The Eagles defense made a goal line on Jackson State’s first possession in overtime to preserve the win. Tight end Hayden Hagler’s fall to third from 1 caused an incompletion by Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders to end the game.

Sanders’ 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter as time expired in regulation set up Alejandro Mata’s tying extra point to send the game to OT. It was the fourth scoring pass of the game for Sanders, who also ran for a score.

North Carolina linebacker Isaiah Lawson (left) and defensive back Malcolm Reed celebrate

North Carolina linebacker Isaiah Lawson (left) and defensive back Malcolm Reed celebrate

Khalil Baker, the defensive MVP, celebrates after NC Central beat Jackson State in overtime

Khalil Baker, the defensive MVP, celebrates after NC Central beat Jackson State in overtime

Jackson State (12-1) was denied for the first undefeated season in school history. Deion Sanders wanted to finish the season with his Tigers before taking over in Colorado. Shedeur Sanders will accompany his father to Boulder.

NC Central’s 10-2 victory gave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference a 6-1 lead over the Southwestern Athletic Conference teams in the Celebration Bowl.

Eagles coach Trei Oliver said he hopes the win brings more respect to the MEAC and North Carolina Central after all the focus of the game was on “Coach Prime” and Jackson State.

“They had a chip on their shoulder,” Oliver said of his players. “The disrespect has been real since we got here.”

Latrell Collier’s 7-yard scoring run with 4:31 left gave NCCU the lead. The Tigers answered with a 15-play drive, including Sanders’ 10-yard pass to TJ Martin.

North Carolina went into the game 9-2, but was able to stop Jackson State's undefeated record

North Carolina went into the game 9-2, but was able to stop Jackson State’s undefeated record

Davius ​​Richards jumps over Jackson State safety Cam'Ron Silmon-Craig during the first half

Davius ​​Richards jumps over Jackson State safety Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig during the first half

Richard passed for 177 yards with a touchdown and ran for 97 yards and two scores. Richard showed his versatility on a three-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown. He had a 21-yard run, a 30-yard catch on a trick play, and a 5-yard scoring run that gave the Eagles a 10–0 lead.

Sanders quickly showed he has dual-threat skills as well, as Jackson State defeated North Carolina Central 21-7 in the remainder of the half. Sanders completed 13 of 14 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and had four carries for 34 yards with another score in the half, giving the Tigers a 21–17 lead.

A fake kick early in the second half helped the Eagles regain the lead. Tight end Kyle Morgan took the snap on the fake kick and ran 43 yards to the Jackson State 24. Richard’s 12-yard scoring pass to Quentin Mcall gave North Carolina Central a 23–21 lead on Adrian Olivo’s missed extra point.

Olivo’s 21-yard field goal late in the third quarter pushed the lead to five points.

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