MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The 5th annual Gulf Coast Challenge’s main event is under 24 hours away as Deion Sanders’ Jackson State is set to play Alabama A&M in Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Before kick off, people in Mobile have an opportunity to participate in the celebration of Historically Black Colleges & Universities with a parade beginning at 10 a.m. on Warren and Congress Street in downtown Mobile. A Mardi Gras ‘Second Line’ into Ladd will follow at 3:30 p.m..
The four-day celebration kicked off Wednesday with a college & career fair at the Mobile Convention Center. A concert was held in Mardi Gras Park Wednesday night as well. Thursday included a business networking reception. Friday featured a full day of festivities including a second line parade, a step show in Mardi Gras park and a concert.
Matchup: Jackson State University Tigers (9-0, 6-0 SWAC) vs. Alabama A&M University Bulldogs (3-6, 3-3 SWAC)
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. CT on ESPN+
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (1621 Virginia St Mobile, AL 36604)
Tickets: $45/ticket, No Re-entry
WKRG’s Shamonee Baker spoke with Ladd-Peebles stadium manager, CJ Drinkard, earlier this week ahead of the game. Drinkard said the stadium is continuing its preparations for the big game.
“What you have to do is kind of build up the suspense but also give people things to do,” said Drinkard. “What a lot of people don’t realize is before big games it’s just a dead week, so when you have these events leading up to the game, it just makes it more exciting for that Saturday.”
“If we get between 30,000 and 40,000 people in town for a weekend, you are talking about $8,000 to $10,0000 economic impact if we can verify that,” said Corte. “So with the crowds that follow these two schools, especially Coach Prime at Jackson State as he has elevated the HBCU world, I mean 40,000 is not out of the realm of possibility.”
Diving into the matchup
2021 SWAC Coach of the Year and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders travels across state lines looking to stay perfect in the 2022 season. The Tigers, led by quarterback Shedeur Sanders, have the top-ranked offense in the conference averaging 40.2 points per game. Sanders leads the conference in touchdown passes (27) and yards (2,677). Sanders’ ‘go to’ target is Dallas Daniels, who has six touchdowns, good for second in the conference. Running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson continues to grasp national attention after a 214-yard rushing performance in the Tigers’ 41-14 win over Texas Southern last week.
The defense gives up just 9.4 points per game while holding opposing offenses to under 100 yards rushing and just over 100 yards passing per game.
Alabama A&M, on the other hand, has struggled this season and is looking to have a chance for a bowl game should they win its final two matchups. The win total would then be five giving the Bulldogs a slim chance at a postseason berth.
Head coach Connell Maynor’s offense is scoring just 20.9 points per game and allowing 34.4 per contest. The 40 touchdowns allowed does not bode well for a matchup against an explosive Tigers offense.
Bulldogs running back Donovan Eaglin is ranked sixth in the SWAC with 651 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Senior linebacker Dre Terry was awarded SWAC Defensive Player of the Week three weeks ago, the first Bulldog to win the award since 2018.
This will be the 24th all-time matchup between programs with the Tigers holding a 12-11 edge in the series. The Bulldogs lost the first five games of the series beginning in 1999 before winning four straight from 2003-to-2006. Jackson State won last season 61-15, but had lost the previous three meetings (2018-2021).
Jackson State and Alabama A&M have played five of the same teams through 10 weeks of the college football season. Of those, the Bulldogs are 2-3 and the Tigers, like mentioned, are unscathed.
WKRG will have live coverage of Saturday’s parade as well as pregame coverage and more on WKRG News 5 Sunday Sports Overtime.