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Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin Says It'd 'Be Exciting' to Face Deion Sanders' Jackson State

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 20, 2022

Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said he's open to the program setting up a future game against FCS opponent Jackson State, which is coached by NFL legend Deion Sanders.

"It's been great to see Deion's success, Coach Sanders' success and how well he's doing," Kiffin told reporters Monday at SEC media days. "I don't know future plans on that, but that would be exciting."

Sanders took over the Jackson State program in 2020, and he's helped the squad turn a corner. The Tigers have compiled a 15-5 record across his first two seasons, highlighted by winning the SWAC Championship Game last season.

While that success combined with Sanders' high-profile status makes Jackson State an intriguing schedule option for Power Five teams—the matchup would create far more interest than a usual buy game—the former cornerback isn't always a fan.

In September, Sanders told Andscape's Jean-Jacques Taylor that "all money ain't good money."

"Normally you just get paid to get beat. Your program makes a little more money than they normally would and you go get your butt kicked," he said. "I don't believe in that. I don't know how that helps anybody."

Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson agreed with Sanders, saying the program would turn down most Power Five offers in favor of games against FBS opponents where the Tigers could be more competitive.

Robinson confirmed the exception would be in-state opponents like Ole Miss or Southern Miss.

"Those games would be historic," Robinson told Taylor. "Those are the only Power Five games we'll be looking at."

So a showdown between Kiffin's Rebels and Sanders' Tigers could be possible in the coming years. A season-opening matchup would be particularly attractive if the sides eventually come to terms.

For now, the focus is the upcoming campaign. Ole Miss opens the 2022 season Sept. 3 when it hosts Troy at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, while Jackson State will play Florida A&M at Hard Rock Stadium for its opener Sept. 4.

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