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ROUND TWO: JSU victorious 59-3 in Orange Blossom Classic

JSU takes Championship Trophy

JSU takes Championship Trophy for second year / Photo Credit: Orange Blossom Classic

One coach was full of praise over his team’s victory while another coach said the matchup showed his personal “worst.”

Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) powerhouse Jackson State University’s Coach Deion Sanders kicked off his second season against SWAC neophyte, Florida A&M University (FAMU), for Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami this past Sunday, with an impressive and for some astonishing record-breaking win, 59-3.

Of note is the impressive display by Sanders’ son, Shedeur, who broke his own personal record for completed passes, before a crowd of just under 40,000.

It was a weekend that Florida HBCU fans most likely would not like to remember as University of Miami defeated another SWAC newbie, Bethune Cookman University, 70-13 and Southern University trounced Florida Memorial University, 86-0; making for a long trip back home from Baton Rouge.

Speaking after the game, Sanders praised his team and he also had a message of hope and love for the people of Jackson, MI, who have been dealing with a water crisis. Sanders said the game was like an escape for citizens but it was also an opportunity to share information and call attention to the crisis and garner support.

2022 Orange Blossom Classic Champions

2022 Orange Blossom Classic Champions / Photo Credit: Orange Blossom Classic

That support came in the form of several water drives that were held in Florida, with water shipped to Jackson. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority referenced a message from their leadership calling for donations of water and outreach from Eva Coleman, National Association of Black Journalists Region 3 (which encompasses Mississippi) Director stressed the importance of providing aid.

Even JSU football players talked about the problem with citizens having to boil water. For the players, staying in the hotel a few days was a much-needed relief from the devastation back home.

Coach Sanders seized the opportunity to highlight the issue before talking about the game and the performance of the players.

JSU Coach Deion Sanders and FAMU Coach Willie Simmons

JSU Coach Deion Sanders and FAMU Coach Willie Simmons / Photo Credit: Orange Blossom Classic

About Sunday’s game, he said, “We had a specific understanding on what we could not do and what we could not allow. We made some mistakes with some key areas. But, if I look at it positively, offense, defense as well as special teams especially the kicking game was on point.

“Everybody talks about what they have and who they brought in. They’ve forgotten we got better too. Not only in the locker room, but with the coaches. The staff is much better. Our support staff is much better… So, all three phases, we were dominant and the only way these young men are going to get to the next level is to dominate everything in life.”

FAMU Coach Willie Simmons admitted the day was a very disappointing one.

“This loss falls squarely on my shoulders,” he said. “This is, by far, my worst coaching job as a head football coach.

“Today’s game wasn’t indicative of the type of team we have. My job as a head coach, and the job of my coaches, is to get our guys prepared to play offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. And we didn’t do that.“

Next week Jackson State faces Tennessee State and FAMU will try to regain its momentum from last century in a contest against Albany State University.

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