During the lead up to Alabama A&M’s road date with Jackson State, head coach Connell Maynor told a TV reporter that he would “turn some bulldogs loose” on his opposite Deion Sanders.
On Saturday, the veteran coach didn’t need a pack of Bulldogs to handle the Tigers.
Quarterback Aqeel Glass was more than enough.
This was worth remembering on a day like Saturday when Alabama A&M pressed for 3 ½ hours to win 52-43 over Jackson State.
The Bulldogs didn’t always play well — at least its defense didn’t for much of the day — as both offenses traded blows throughout.
The game, therefore, turned into a series of moments demanding Alabama A&M’s best player excel and lift his team.
Glass, a senior who is the most NFL-ready quarterback prospect in all of HBCU football at this point, threw for a career-best 440 yards and six touchdowns in front of a national television audience.
He galloped for a touchdown in the first half on a quarterback read play for one of his seven scores on the day. But it was the pocket presence, the arm strength, and the accuracy that was the difference.
It was the perfectly dropped 43-yard toss into the hands of Gary Quarles on one scoring drive. That followed a precision pass in stride to Zabrian Moore over a badly beaten Jackson State defense that led to a 61-yard touchdown.
Despite not being able to play for the last 35 games because of an unfortunate string of cancelations and postponements, Glass and the Bulldogs’ offense was magical at times.
Moore was great. Odieu Hilaire, who posted a 100-yard receiving day was just as dogged. Freshman Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, who hauled in two TDs of his own, elevated his play, too.
In case there’s any doubt who the best player in the SWAC was several weeks into the season, Glass — with his aerial assault, put any questions to an abrupt and brilliant rest.
During the course of the game, Glass was spotted dancing on the sideline and even wore a bejeweled crown atop his head after a touchdown drive.
It was fitting for the preseason offensive player of the year who was the king of Jackson State’s homecoming court.