Right after Deion Sanders and his Jackson State Football team beat Mississippi Valley State two weeks ago, Coach Sanders was thrilled about going to Montgomery to play against Alabama State for their homecoming.
“I love the fact that we’re going to play Alabama State for their homecoming,” Sanders had expressed after the win over MVSU. “I love it. Quote me on it. I love it,” he added.
However, when the two teams met up on Saturday, at ASU stadium, there wasn’t anything friendly about the competition.
At the beginning of last week, Sanders thought of the chance to play the Hornets as a “money game” in which JSU supporters would travel to see the team play the Alabama-based program. Sanders expressed that playing this team would be different than playing other teams that were disrespectful to his team since it was a homecoming opponent. He made these statements in the SWAC’s weekly coaches’ news conference.
The day of the game, the Tigers got to the stadium late as a result of traffic, and JSU’s offensive unit started off poorly before the team eventually won.
Afterwards, Sanders walked midfield to shake hands with Eddie Robinson Jr., the Hornets’s coach. The two shook hands, but when Sanders tried to hug Robinson, Sanders was ignored. Sources say that Robinson had felt that Sanders had disrespected him in the media all week leading up to the competition.
On the other hand, Sanders felt as though he was doing the right thing after the Tigers’ victory.
“My exact words were, ‘Hey man, you had them ready to play. Good game,’” Sanders commented. “Shook hands and tried to embrace him, and he pushed off. That was it,” he added.
Sanders says that Robinson might have been upset because he may have thought his team would beat the Tigers.
“I think he thought he was going to get a win. I don’t know why he would have ever thought that. Secondly, he said that I didn’t come to greet him in the center of the field. I don’t know if you understand, but we got here very late. So that expedited our whole process of preparation. So, then we were in like, ‘let’s go get it (mode).”
Next Saturday, Jackson State will travel to Florida to play Bethune-Cookman College.