Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders hoped that if his Jackson State football team won big, it would help the people of Jackson, Mississippi, who had been suffering through the Jackson Water Crisis. All of this was accomplished despite Sanders having to deal with a personal loss just before kickoff.

Shedeur Sanders, son of Deion Sanders, led Jackson State to a 59-3 victory over Florida A&M in the Orange Blossom Classic on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Sanders, a former Pro Football Hall of Famer and current third-year college football coach, won the season opener just as he found out that his grandmother, Hattie Mae Mims, had passed away.

I’m glad grandma lived as long as she did. Grandma was in her late 90s. Our family was founded by Grandma. I first started going to church with Grandma’s help. “Grandma is the one who introduced me to the Lord,” Sanders said.

When I was a baby, I lived with Grandma because she was the only one who could keep me from getting into trouble. My grandmother was the one who gave me the whooping. When I went across the street to shoot hoops or play basketball, my grandmother would peek out the window and, upon seeing my little face peering out, I would always make sure to return home before dark.

Mainly because Grandma wasn’t into playing games. The grama was quite the disciplinarian. Up until the day she left, Grandma was a devout Christian. Everyone’s grandma was their rock. Thus, I have mourned the loss of a genuine, genuine woman. A true lady.”

In his first game as a sophomore, Sanders Jr. completed 17 of his first 18 passes and went on to complete 29 of 33 passes for 323 yards. He found the end zone by connecting with Shane Hooks (twice), Dallas Daniels, Rico Powers, and Hayden Hagler (the tight end).

Three different players on defense scored touchdowns in the rout: defensive back Ke’Vric Wiggins Jr. returned an interception, linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr. returned a fumble, and safety Herman Smith returned a blocked punt.

Cornerback Travis Hunter, a freshman who chose Jackson State over Florida State on National Signing Day, intercepted three passes in his first game.

In other words, “We are expecting that. Sanders said, “We don’t expect nothing less,” in reference to the resounding victory. That didn’t come as a shock to me.

Despite JSU’s 471-155 victory in total yards over FAMU, both teams will leave this Classic in better shape than when they arrived in Miami earlier in the week amid national headlines.

That’s good news for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which have been fighting for recognition, funding, and inclusion in college football’s rapidly developing landscape of television deals and expanded playoff fields.

On Sunday, representatives from the city of Jackson, Mississippi, informed locals that the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant had increased storage capacity, resulting in higher water pressure for residents. Governor Tate Reeves and President Joe Biden declared an emergency this week after the city lost its water supply. Unfortunately, the recommendation to boil drinking water remains in effect.

Deion Sanders

Still, Jackson State has to figure out how to get its football team to Memphis for a Saturday game against Tennessee State, where it will have to stay in hotels, buy food from local vendors, and wash all of its uniforms and equipment.

Sanders stated, “we got a deal on that,” referring to the university’s $15,000 per night expense for the monumental undertaking.

How can we go out there and dominate like that and then bring a child back to something that is deserted and where there is no water? This toilet is infuriatingly unflushable. There’s no oxygen in the room. Sanders emphasized the importance of considering all of these factors.

Making sure these kids are okay is foremost in my mind right now. How can we expect these kids to do all that we’ve asked of them, to play on national television, and then subject them to more foolishness when we take them back? Things like that are actually occurring.

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FAMU looked like a team that had been missing a third of its players for the first two weeks of the season due to ineligibility issues as Jackson State ran roughshod over them. Almost 90 athletes signed a letter to the school president complaining about the registrar’s office, compliance office, and academic advising.

The FAMU team’s coach, Willie Simmons, has had at least 18 players return to the team in the past week. During last week’s season-opening loss to North Carolina, the NCAA ruled that 26 FAMU players were ineligible due to potential violations. There are still eight ineligible athletes.

After being grilled by the board of trustees last Friday, FAMU president Larry Robinson revealed that the athletics department would be getting two new academic advising positions and five new compliance employees. One compliance officer is responsible for overseeing FAMU’s more than 300 student-athletes.

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If reports from the Tallahassee Democrat are to be believed, FAMU outside linebacker Isaiah Land, widely regarded as the top HBCU NFL prospect, has retained legal counsel to help him fight for a playing eligibility. A sack in the first half of the game marked his return to action less than four days after the initial report.

Simmons expressed hope that they would be able to resolve all certification issues by the end of the week and finish the season. “That ought to make us a stronger team.”

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