Jackson State and South Carolina State will head to Atlanta, Georgia for the HBCU National Title. The Tigers came into this season proclaiming how much better they were compared to the other programs on their schedule. It was almost as if it was a for gone conclusion that they would be representing the SWAC in the Celebration Bowl at the end of the year. The SC State Bull Bulldogs were a completely different story.
The SC State Bulldogs started the year off 1-4 (two of the loss come from FBS level opponents) and looked like long shots to get into the Celebration Bowl conversation, but after a string of tough wins the Bulldogs were in the thick of the conversation.
Jackson State Tigers are coming off of their first SWAC title since 2007 in Deion Sanders first year as the head coach. This is why Sanders was awarded the 2021 SWAC Coach of The Year. The Tigers added a bunch of FBS Power 5 players through the transfer portal over the offseason to create an almost immediate mismatch between Jackson State and the rest of the SWAC. This might be the best year for a team to beat Jackson State because the Tigers are stacking talent in the 2022 recruiting class.
No.1 Jackson State Tigers vs No. 2 South Carolina State Bulldogs 2021 Cricket Celebration Bowl
When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, 12 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
How To Watch: ABC
Key Player For Jackson State: WR Keith Corbin III. Corbin has been on absolute tear for Jackson State. He has 5 100+ yard receiving games this year alone. The University of Houston transfer has become Shedeur Sanders go to receiver amassing 65 receptions for 897 yards and 6 touchdowns. When defenses attempt to play man coverage against Corbin he’s a mismatch for most corners to cover him alone. When defenses decide to play zone coverage, Corbin always seems to find the soft spot in the defense to get open. His ability to get separation is what makes him a 2022 NFL Draft prospect.
Key Player For SC State: DB Decobie Durant. The 5’11 corner back made a name for himself week 2 of the season when he had a solid game against FBS Juggernaut Clemson. 3 Solo tackles to go along with 2 interceptions against some receiver that will be playing on Sundays. Durant will have the tall task of locking down our key player for Jackson State, Keith Corbin. When he is not on Corbin you should expect to see him in a few corner blitz packages.
Match Up To Watch: QB Shedeur Sanders against the South Carolina State secondary. The SC State secondary have 10 Ints on the year and two players in the secondary have 3 Ints a piece. Sanders at times has made questionable throws that did not get picked, but that could create great opportunities for the SC State defense to steal some momentum.
Jackson State’s special teams could play a major role in this match up. Jackson State doesn’t have a strong kicking game and if it comes down to a field goal anything could happen. On the other hand, Jackson State punt return team and kick return team are lethal. Last week in the SWAC Championship Isaiah Bolden took back a 91 yard kick return.