Jackson State and South Carolina State will meet on Saturday in the sixth-ever Celebration Bowl in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Here’s everything you need to know before the Tigers and the Bulldogs square off.
What is the Celebration Bowl?
First installed in 2015, the Celebration Bowl is an annual championship game between the top two HBCU programs in the country. Both the SWAC and MEAC conferences at the FCS level each send their respective champion to compete in the game that has always been held in Atlanta.
Who is playing in this year’s game?
Jackson State (11-1): JSU became a national story in 2019 when they hired former NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders as their head coach. Sanders is a Jackson State alum with deep ties to the school and program and his son Shedeur is the team’s current quarterback. He was named FCS Coach of the Year. Shedeur won the Jerry Rice Award, an accolade given annually to the best freshman in the FCS.
The Tigers made recent headlines when they were able to nab a historical signing from the nation’s #1 high school prospect in Travis Hunter. This year’s JSU team won 11 games and finished the regular season ranked 14th in the FCS Coaches Poll.
South Carolina State (6-5): Led by head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough, the Bulldogs went undefeated in MEAC play this fall. Pough won MEAC Coach of the Year and SC State is making its first ever Celebration Bowl appearance after winning its conference-leading 18th MEAC title in 2021. The Bulldogs are the first MEAC team that is not North Carolina A&T to represent the conference in the Celebration Bowl since 2016.
South Carolina State has an explosive offense that can run and pass well. Running back Kendrell Flowers has nine touchdowns and 637 yards while receiver Shaquan Davis has 769 yards receiving and five scores.
How can I watch/listen?
The 2021 Celebration Bowl kicks off at 1:00 PM ET on ABC. You can also stream the game on ESPN+ (here) or listen to the game on espn.com.