Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders can’t wait to experience homecoming at Alabama State.
He wants to see the sold-out crowd at ASU Stadium. Sanders wants to enjoy all the pageantry and the annual spectacle of what is for many college campuses a celebratory weekend.
The JSU coach also wants to make Saturday memorable in more ways than one — but not in a good way for the Hornets — after being tabbed to fulfill a role historically reserved for a weaker opponent.
“We’re looking forward to going down to Alabama to be their homecoming,” said Sanders Monday during the SWAC coaches media availability. “So this is going to be a great game because we are their homecoming (opponent). … and we can’t wait to get down to Alabama (State) to open this gift.
Jackson State will return to the site of one of its three losses during the pandemic-shortened 2021 spring season when the Hornets football gameday operations staff trolled Sanders by showing a 1989 NFL Draft day photo of the newly minted pro in all his gold chain, Jheri curl glory on the video board after Alabama State’s 35-28 win.
Final: Alabama State beats Jackson State, 35-28, giving Deion Sanders his first loss in the SWAC.
Here’s what ASU flashed on the scoreboard postgame. @MGMAdvertiser pic.twitter.com/oUJ83ELXec
— Nick Alvarez (@nick_a_alvarez) March 21, 2021
“Childish,” Sanders described the act following that March 2021 game. “It is what it is. They know they messed up.”
Sanders, however, explained that he isn’t motivated by what transpired two seasons ago. But after Jackson State knocked off Alabama State 28-7 last year, a pre-taped message featured on the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium scoreboard showed the coach sitting on a throne firing back at the hornets.
“This spring after they won, they had a lot to say on the (scoreboard),” said Sanders then. “We ain’t gonna do that. We’re going to take the high road.”
The camera then panned to an image of a road sign inscribed with an upward-pointing arrow accompanied by the words “THE HIGH ROAD.”
“I don’t think too many people were laughing,” Sanders said of the video board image of himself displayed at Alabama State. “But if they were, I hope they’re there this week. I look forward to it.”
Sanders, with tongue firmly implanted in his cheek, continued lauding that the Tigers were the homecoming opponent for another SWAC Alabama school.
“I’ve only seen Alabama A&M’s homecoming and it was so beautiful,” he said. “It was so energetic it was so heartwarming, lovable. It was just peace in the air. I loved it.
The Tigers won that game 61-7 in what was the team’s best overall performance of the 2021 season.
Sanders later autographed a small pink scooter intended for Alabama A&M head coach Connell Maynor in response to the Bulldogs’ coach requesting a custom Aflac version that Sanders was given while recovering from toe surgery.
Sanders — without saying it, suggested that Alabama State could suffer the same fate as Alabama A&M a year ago.
“I think it’s very brilliant. It’s brilliant, “he said about the schedule matching up Alabama State and JSU on homecoming. “This is like a money game, isn’t it? This is like one of those games that you invite the opponent so you can make a lot of money because Jackson State travels deep.
“They come with all the fanfare and all the love. You know how many fans we travel with. We’re one of the greatest shows on Earth. We’re like The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus but the Black version.”
Sanders said ASU will “make some money” as a result of interest in the matchup, but explained that it could come with an on-field cost for the Hornets.
“But what comes along with money? All money ain’t good money,” he said. “We will learn All money ain’t good money.”
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