It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The winningest season in Jackson State football history was supposed to end with a Celebration Bowl victory — the cherry on top of a historic 11-1 record. The headlines were halfway written: Deion Sanders and Jackson State win Black National Championship

another reason for top-recruits to come play for Coach Prime. But, the South Carolina State Bulldogs had other plans.

The Bulldogs upset the Jackson State Tigers 31-10 Saturday (Dec. 18) in front of over 43,000 people in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Tigers quarterback Shadeur Sanders, who was named the 2021 Jerry Rice award recipient for being the top freshman in FCS football, threw the first touchdown pass of the game in the first quarter; a 7-yard toss to senior wideout Keith Corbin III. It would be Sanders’ only touchdown of the game.

The freshman standout would go on to throw 2 interceptions and fumble the football deep in Jackson State territory. That turnover led to a 6-yard receiving touchdown by Shaquan Davis, who taunted the Tigers by doing their coach’s signature dance in the end zone. The Bulldogs would score 24 unanswered points before the Tigers responded with a field goal late in the third quarter. Bulldog quarterback Corey Fields threw 4 touchdowns during the day. His last one was a 16-yard dart to Davis, who set a Celebration Bowl record with 3 receiving touchdowns.

South Carolina State not only upset the Tigers and their high-profile Hall of Fame head coach, but the Bulldogs also beat them by the widest margin in the 6-year history of the Celebration Bowl. The win is the first HBCU national title for the Bulldogs (7-5) since 2009.

After the game, Coach Prime told reporters “South Carolina State kicked our butts!” “Every way, every fashion out-physical us, out-threw us, much more discipline than us, and I feel we were overconfident and overlooked them as if they were just going to hand us the game,” he said. “My hats off to everybody involved with South Carolina State…We tried our best and we got our butts kicked.”

Check out highlights from the game below: