For Florida A&M, however, the Rattlers graced Florida's gridiron on Sunday for the first time since 652 days. They were playing Jackson State in the Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida. This is the first time the Rattlers have been on the gridiron in 43 years.
The Orange Blossom Classic, which featured FAMU and another HBC, was the unofficial Black national championship. It took place from 1933 to 1978. The original date was set for fall 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be postponed.
The FAMU-Jackson State tilt was highly anticipated, with Willie Simmons as the coach and Sanders as Sanders. Shedeur Sanders' college debut and the most-rated FCS recruiting class and history. There is also the potential for some exciting offensive performances.
Instead, the game featured 12 punts (20 penalties), five turnovers (three for Jackson State), 8-1 on third-down conversions, and 13 points between both teams.
It doesn't matter which team has the most yards, but who makes the crucial plays when it matters most in any sport. On Sunday afternoon, Jackson State defeated FAMU 7-6 before a crowd of former NFL wide receivers Terrell O'Neal and Chad Johnson. This was a game that went down to the last seconds.
After the Tigers' win, Sanders and JSU athletic Director Ashley Robinson hugged Robinson with emotion.
Robinson said to Sanders, "Yeah baby. Yeah baby. We here, we here."
Before that touching embrace between Robinson & Sanders, it was a difficult 60 minutes. The game showed glimpses of talent and room for improvement.
Shedeur Sanders made his debut in the Tigers' game. He took the ball deep inside Tigers territory, but managed to shake off any early game jitters, three turnovers, and finished the half 18-24. He threw for 221 yards and ran for the Tigers' only touchdown. The Tigers did not score that touchdown until the second quarter.