Again and again: Sanders lost JSU’s last game in overtime
ATLANTA — Quarterback Davius Richard ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard touchdown run in overtime, and North Carolina Central beat Jackson State 41-34 in Saturday’s Celebration Bowl to spoil coach Deion Sanders’ bid for an undefeated season in his game The last one with tigers.
The Eagles defense stood at the goal line on Jackson State’s first overtime possession to preserve the win. Tight end Hayden Hagler ran off third from 1, shortstop by Jackson State quarterback Xedeur Sanders to end a game that has been considered the championship of teams from historically black colleges and universities.
Sanders’ 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter as time expired in regulation set up Alejandro Mata’s running mate to send the game into overtime. It was the fourth pass of the game for Sanders, who also ran for a score.
Jackson State (12-1) declined its offer for the first undefeated season in school history. Coach Deion Sanders takes over the Colorado football program but wanted to finish the season with the Tigers first. Shadyor Sanders will accompany his father to Boulder.
The NC Central (10-2) win gave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference a 6-1 victory over teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference in The Celebration Bowl.
Latrell Collier’s 7-yard score with 4:31 remaining gave NCCU the lead. The Tigers answered with a 15-play drive that included Sanders’ 10-yard touchdown pass and fourth down to J.D. Martin.
Richard passed for 177 yards with a touchdown and ran for 97 yards and two scores. Richard showed his versatility running 3 yards on the first down of the game. Richard made a 21-yard catch, 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 also prided himself on dual threat skills as Jackson State outscored North Carolina Central 21-7 going into 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, as the Tigers took 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 touchdown pass to Quentin McCall gave North Carolina Central a 23–21 lead after Adrian Olivo missed the extra point.
Olivo’s 21-yard field goal late in the third quarter moved the lead to five points.
Launch into the crowd
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended the game to support his nephew, Jackson State University freshman defensive lineman Charlton “Charlie” Goodell. The younger Goodell is the nephew of Roger Goodell.
North Carolina Central: The Eagles have relied on their solid running game. A balanced running attack led by Richard and Collier gave NC Central a 276-78 advantage in rushing yards.
JACKSON STATE: The Tigers were resilient in response to an early 10-0 deficit. Sanders was the key, playing a runner and passer as he led the comeback.
North Carolina Central: The Eagles will be looking for back-to-back MEAC championships when they open the 2023 season at North Carolina A&T on Sept. 3.
JACKSON STATE: With wide receivers coach TC Taylor moving into the new head coach position, the Tigers will return to Atlanta to open the 2023 season against South Carolina State in the MEAC-SWAC Cricket Challenge.
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