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Football Caps Historic Day With Dominant Shutout Win Over Southern

Photo by Charles A. Smith / University Communications
Photo by Charles A. Smith / University Communications

Jackson State is on the verge of sweeping the SWAC in back-to-back seasons, but a dangerous Texas Southern awaits in Houston

The Jackson State University football team capped off a historic day for the school, the city, and the culture with a dominant 35-0 victory over Southern Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The day began with the live broadcast of ESPN's College Gameday Pregame show at Jackson State for the first time ever outside the stadium with a packed, enthusiastic, and passionate expression and display of fans from the campus and the state, showcasing the rich HBCU culture before a nationwide audience.

The day ended with the nation's top-ranked defense shutting out the SWAC's second-ranked offense before a season-high 53,885 fans as JSU improved to 8-0 for the first time in school history, 5-0 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play.

Jackson State limited Southern to only 10 first downs and 227 total yards, while allowing only three of 18 third-down conversions and recording three sacks. LB Jeremiah Brown's block of Southern field goal attempt early in the game after Jackson State was short on a fourth-down attempt from deep inside Tigers' territory set a ghastly tone on this October 31 weekend that led to the shutout win.

The Jackson State defense held an opponent under 250 total yards for the eighth straight time this season while limiting five opponent to only one score or less.

Heisman Trophy and Walter Payton Award candidate QB Shedeur Sanders totaled 246 yards and three touchdowns, including a career-high tying two rushing touchdowns. RB Sy'Veon Wilkerson rushed 21 times for 96 yards and one touchdown.

A pair of weather delays in the fourth quarter delayed the game for approximately 90 minutes with the Tigers in total control.

After a scoreless first quarter, a 16-play, 80-yard drive culminated with a three-yard scoring pass from Sanders to Wilkerson, who dove over the goal line from the one-yard line to give JSU a 7-0 lead with less than 11 minutes to play in the period.

Later in the period, Jackson State scored on back-to-back possessions to take control of the contest. Driving 71 yards in only three plays, Sanders' career-long 42-yard touchdown run gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead with under three minutes to play until halftime.

On the ensuing possession, LB Aubrey Miller forced a fumble that was recovered by Travis Hunter at the Tigers' 41-yard line.

Sanders drove the Tigers 59 yards in only six plays. Sanders' 12-yard scoring run up the middle and two-point conversion pass to Kevin Coleman gave the Tigers a 22-0 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Wilkerson's 26-yard touchdown run capped a five-play, 40-yard drive to give Jackson State a 28-0 lead with 6:24 to play in the period.

Following the weather delays in the fourth quarter, QB J.P. Andrade completed the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Trevonte Rucker for the final margin.

Jackson State returns to action next Saturday at Texas Southern at 6 p.m

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