Shedeur Sanders scored the game’s only touchdown, and the Jackson State defense had two fourth-place saves in the dying minutes to help the Tigers beat Florida A&M on Sunday at the Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium.
Sanders, son of Football Hall of Fame and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders, was 18 of 24 passing for 221 yards and scored on a 1-yard run that covered a 10-play, 69-yard run and did it 7-3 at the start of the second quarter.
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JSU’s Trey Lockhart tackled Chad Hunter just before opening goal to force a turnaround on the downs near midfield with 2:59 to go. After the Tigers (1-0, 1-0 Southwestern Athletic Conference) had three goals in the practice that followed, Bishop Bonnet pulled off a 20-yard rush to move FAMU to Jackson State 38 with 30 seconds to go. . Junior Muratovic threw three consecutive incomplete passes before being sacked by James Houston and Cam’Ron Silmon in the fourth and -10 to seal it.
Muratovic, a true freshman, replaced starting quarterback Rasean McKay early in the fourth quarter for Florida A&M (0-1, 0-1). McKay had 18 of 29 passes for 78 yards and Muratovic completed 5 of 12 for 47 yards.
Jackson State had a chance to extend their lead with about five minutes to go, but had an 11-play, 77-yard stall when Peytton Pickett was stopped for no gain on a FAMU 19 fourth and one point.
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Jose Romo-Martinez of Florida A&M had a 21-yard field goal to open the scoring midway through the first quarter and a 39-yard goal that made it 7-6 with 6:02 left in the first half.
The Rattlers, who played their first game in more than 600 days due to complications from the coronavirus pandemic, made their SWAC debut. FAMU had spent all but one season (2004, when the Rattlers played as an Indie) for the past three decades and more as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.