The reigning two-time SWAC Champions returned to action on a mission against the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
The Jackson State Tigers took the field for the first time in a couple of years without Coach Prime who moved on to coach the Colorado Buffaloes of the PAC-12 Conference. Head Coach TC Taylor is in his first stint as a head coach and served as an assistant coach since 2019.
The South Carolina State Bulldogs took the field with Buddy Pough as Head Coach, but he announced that this would be his last season. After 22 successful seasons at the helm Coach Pough is almost ready to enjoy retirement.
Both teams battled each other in the 2021 Celebration Bowl which served as motivation for the Jackson State Tigers in the 2023 edition of the MEAC/SWAC challenge. This is the season opener for both schools and the Bulldogs had won the last three meetings.
The South Carolina State Bulldogs opened the game with a three and out and almost muffed the punt on 4th down. The Jackson State Tigers almost returned the favor with a fumble on their second play from scrimmage by RB J.D. Martin. After a 5-yard Bulldog penalty, RB Irv Mulligan took the ball to the house on a 46-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead. The Jackson State Tigers missed on a field goal by K Gerardo Baeza The South Carolina State Bulldog’s defense forced a much-needed turnover with a few seconds left in the first quarter.
The second quarter opened up with a sack by LB Issac Peppers to keep the Bulldogs out of possible field goal range. On the ensuing possession the Tigers went on a 9 play 92-yard drive capped off by a 35-yard TD pass from QB Jason Brown to TE Jency Riley. With 3:10 remaining on the clock in the first half QB Jason Brown found WR Rico Powers for a 47-yard gain to setup a 31 yard by K Gerardo Baeza to give the Jackson State Tigers a 17-0 halftime lead.
The third quarter began with the Jackson State offense picking up right where they left off with a 6 play 63-yard drive capped off with a 21-yard TD pass from QB Jason Brown to TE DJ Stevens for a 24-0 lead. For the third straight drive the Tigers scored this time a 44-yard TD pass from QB Jason Brown to WR Andre Hunt to bring the lead to 31-0. On the next play the Bulldogs QB Corey Fields Jr., threw an interception to S Tim Steward which led to a 27-yard field goal by K Gerardo Baeza.
The fourth quarter was consumed by an 8:16 scoring drive by Jackson State to extend the lead to 37 -0 with a 38-yard field goal by K Gerardo Baeza. To avoid the shut out QB Corey Fields Jr. found TE Keshawn Toney 18 yards away to bring the final score to 37-7.
The Jackson State Tigers had 499 of total offense compared to The South Carolina State Bulldogs 201 yards of total offense. QB Jason Brown had a terrific game by throwing 26 of 33 for 361 yards and three touchdowns. RB Irv Mulligan had a great game as well rushing for over 109 yards to lead the team.
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Jackson State Tigers (1-0) will play Florida A&M Rattlers (0-0) in Miami Gardens, Fla at 3pm on Sunday September 3, 2023