Deion Sanders and the Jackson State football program of the FCS got off to a fast start this spring season, beginning the campaign 3-0 headed into Saturday. But, that was before Coach Prime and the Tigers ran into Alabama State.
Jackson State (3-1) suffered their first loss of Sanders' tenure on Saturday, falling 35-28 to the Alabama State Hornets. Despite leading by a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers gave up 21 points in the final frame, falling short of the victory.
However, the outcome of the well-played, hard-fought contest was overshadowed by an image displayed on the Alabama State scoreboard after the game. A photo appeared on the screen at ASU Stadium of Sanders on his draft day in 1989.
Unsurprisingly, the NFL Hall of Famer and Jackson State head coach wasn't a fan of the move by the Alabama State program.
“Childish,” Sanders said when asked about the photo, per Anthony McDougle of The Clarion Ledger. “It is what it is. They know they messed up.”
Alabama State head coach Donald Hill-Eley said that he was unaware that the photo was going to go up on the scoreboard if his Hornets won. It remains unclear who gave the go-ahead for the display.
“I’m going to call them out on it,” Sanders said. “That’s what it was. They tried to respond with a bit of foolishness. We’ve got to keep it on the field and make it about the kids, make it about the fans. It’s not about me.”
The scoreboard display wasn't the only problem Sanders had with his team's trip to Alabama State. Apparently, the Hornets program didn’t provide tickets for Jackson State fans or allow the Tigers to set-up their locker room until Saturday morning.
Sanders and his program are off to a great start this spring, so should be able to recover from this weekend's events quickly. Jackson State will be back in action on April 3 at home against Southern University.