By Alice Thomas-Tisdale
JA Publisher Emerita
Jackson State University Tigers did more than simply represent the SWAC at the 2023 Cricket Challenge against the MEAC. First year head football coach T.C. Taylor and his “protectors of the block” gained bragging rights as the first Mississippi team to win the coveted title since its inception in 2005. They also redeemed themselves big time by evening the score with South Carolina State University, its top rival in the MEAC since losing to them in the 2021 Celebration Bowl.
Saturday’s final tally was 37-7, but the victory shouldn’t be measured just by the numbers. Coach Taylor summed it up best. “They know now!” he yelled out to his fan base in accepting the Challenge trophy. “They” seemed to suggest the skeptics, the trash talkers, and the haters who chose not to “still believe” JSU was a solid football program after the abrupt departure of Coach Prime last season.
If you think “Who’s SWAC if I ain’t SWAC” t-shirts rolled off the press the day after Deion Sanders spoke those words in defense of being called an outsider, I’m curious to see if “They…” signature tees won’t be far behind.
Although this was a SWAC vs MEAC contest, JSU fans deserve all the credit for loading up vehicles, jumping on motorcycles, and boarding buses and planes all headed to ATL to cheer on their hometown heroes. They were well in the majority of the 24,000+ spectators braving high temps at the outdoor Center Parc Stadium.
Kudos to the Sean Combs Foundation for making good on its promise of $1M to the urban university.
Next up for JSU, FAMU in the 2023 Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic at Miami Gardens Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3.