JSU and ASU Meet on the Gridiron for First Time in Over a Year

Photo courtesy JSU

Photo courtesy JSU

Jackson State University and Alcorn State University haven’t played each other in football since Saturday, Nov. 23. Alcorn State destroyed Jackson State in a 41-6 beatdown that ended the Tigers’ season at 4-8 overall.

The Braves went on to win the SWAC East for the sixth consecutive year. ASU went on to defeat Southern University in the SWAC Championship Game. The Braves’ season ended in a 20-point defeat to North Carolina A&T University.

Alcorn State decided not to play the spring season of 2021 after COVID-19 postponed the 2020 season. Jackson State played a spring schedule as new head coach Deion Sanders breathed new life into the program.

While Alcorn State sat out the spring season, Jackson State was laying the foundation for this fall. The Tigers went 4-3 and Sanders got a start on reshaping the program in his image.

Now the two longtime SWAC rivals are in opposite divisions as Alcorn State moved to the SWAC West and JSU stayed in the East. Florida A&M University and Bethune Cookman University joined the SWAC and were added to the East Division.

Jackson State sits on top of the East with a perfect 7-0 record in SWAC play. Alcorn State is currently in second place in the West with Prairie View A&M University leading the division.

The Tigers and the Braves are set to meet this Saturday, Nov. 20, in Jackson, Miss. JSU has already clinched a spot in the SWAC Championship Game. ASU must win this game and get some help to have any hope of a rematch in the title game.

Jackson State is the fourth best offense in the conference, averaging 29.7 points per game. Alcorn State is fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 27.6 points per game.

Defense is where the game could change as the Tigers own the best-scoring defence in the SWAC. JSU is only allowing 14.2 points per game and ASU allows 26 points per game for fourth in scoring defense.

Alcorn State could try to control the game with their rushing attack. The Braves are the fourth best running team in the conference, averaging 167.1 yards per game.

JSU only allows 102.3 yards per game on the ground for the second best rushing defense in the SWAC. The game could be decided by whomever can run the ball the best or by whomever can stop the run. ASU allows 143.5 yards per game on the ground to land in fourth place in the SWAC.

Jackson State enters the game with the best passing defense in the SWAC only allowing 153.7 yards per game. The Tigers’ offense is second in the conference in passing yards with 267.4 yards per game.

Alcorn State passes for 227.9 yards per game on offense for fifth in the conference. The Braves defense gives up 225.7 yards per game for sixth in the SWAC.

This game also features two 2021 Conerly Trophy finalists. JSU quarterback Shedeur Sanders has led the Tigers to an undefeated record in SWAC play and first division title since 2013. Alcorn State defensive back Juwan Taylor will try to stop Sanders from throwing the ball on the Braves.

This game feels like it will be close for the first half with both teams feeling each other out. The second half is when JSU will take control and finish a perfect regular season in SWAC play. Alcorn State’s dream of a spot in the SWAC Championship game will die in Jackson.

The Tigers will lead 28 to 21 after the first two quarters. Then JSU shows a new beast has risen in the east and cruises to a 48-28 victory.

Read more sports coverage at jfp.ms/sports.

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