deion sanders coaches final game as jackson state

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NC Central won the Cricket Celebration Bowl in Deion Sanders’s last game as Jackson State’s head coach.

The game went to overtime after Shedeur Sanders connected with Travis Hunter for a 19-yard touchdown as time expired.

NC Central (10-2) received the ball to start overtime and scored a touchdown. Jackson State (12-1) nearly tied the game on a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Hayden Hagler dropped an easy reception.

Sanders’s throw on fourth down sailed out of the back of the endzone, squashing the team’s hopes of going 13-0 and winning the HBCU national championship. 

The game marked the end of Sanders’s tenure at Jackson State. He agreed to become the head coach at Colorado on Dec. 3.

The move drew criticism from some who felt the move perpetuates the myth that coaches can’t achieve greatness at HBCUs. The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award should have extinguished that hypothesis years ago.

Robinson coached at Grambling from 1941-1997 and went 408-165-15 and won 17 SWAC Championships and nine Black College National Championships, per the Black College Football Hall of Fame.   While Sanders’s run at Jackson State didn’t end the way he wanted it to on the field, it’s difficult to imagine it not playing out the way he hoped that it would. He elevated Jackson State, the SWAC, and HBCUs, but most importantly he elevated himself.

His resume suggests he’ll produce a winner at Colorado but it won’t be easy. The Buffaloes (1-11) have enough holes that one transfer portal and freshman class won’t be enough to build a winner in year one. Saturday’s loss will likely be the first of many in his near future. 

Sanders is on to bigger things; he might soon find out that doesn’t necessarily mean better.

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