In his first major test as a college head coach, Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders led the Jackson State Tigers to a 33-28 road win over the Grambling State Tigers at Eddie Robinson Stadium in Grambling, Louisiana, on Saturday.
Jackson State trailed 28-27 in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown by senior wide receiver Warren Newman put Jackson State on top 33-28 in the fourth, and a late goal-line stand sealed it late.
Grambling looked to be going in for the go-ahead score, but Jackson State linebacker Aubrey Miller forced a fumble, and linebacker Keonte Hampton recovered it with 1:04 remaining in regulation to secure the win.
The win was a huge one for Jackson State, as it marked the Tigers' first victory over Grambling since 2012. It was also Grambling's first home loss against any team since 2015.
Jackson State got on the board first Saturday with a touchdown pass from quarterback Jalon Jones to Corey Reed to seize a 7-0 lead:
While Jackson State fell behind 14-7 after striking first, Coach Prime's team righted the ship and reeled off 20 points in a row to take a 27-14 lead into halftime.
On a 64-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Daylen Baldwin to give Jackson State a 20-14 lead, Sanders could be seen running down the sidelines in excitement:
The exclamation point on a strong first half came with five minutes left when Jackson State running back Tyson Alexander rushed for a 33-yard score:
Things got worrisome for Jackson State in the second half, as Grambling scored two unanswered touchdowns, but the Newman touchdown in the fourth quarter followed by a goal-line stand were enough for Sanders' team to hang on.
It was far from a perfect performance by Jackson State, as the Tigers missed two extra points and a short field goal, but they showed plenty of grit and determination.
Now, Jackson State is 2-0 under Sanders, as it defeated NAIA team Edward Waters 53-0 in his head coaching debut.
Last week's scheduled game against Mississippi Valley State was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Mississippi Valley State program, but Jackson State didn't miss a beat.
Meanwhile, Grambling is off to a 0-1 start after letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away Saturday afternoon.
Sanders and Jackson State are scheduled to return to the field next Sunday in a makeup game against Mississippi Valley State.