His team finally playing a home game for the first time this season, and Mississippi Memorial Stadium with a large crowd but not quite at capacity, Jackson State coach Deion Sanders hardly could share his thoughts Saturday as the Tigers headed to halftime up just 21-17 on Hue Jackson’s Grambling squad.
A visibly frustrated Sanders blasted his team in his halftime interview with the ESPN broadcast crew – particularly as it pertained the JSU defense yielding 17 first-half points.
The Tigers had allowed just six points total through a pair of wins against Florida A&M and Tennessee State to start their season.
“Just doing their job,” Sanders said of needed adjustments. “Guys in the wrong gap, we’re just not playing indicative of who we are. We preach smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character and we’re not doing anything.
“Offensively, we’ve got to quit putting the ball on the ground. We’re just not executing.”
Sanders then delivered quite the volley toward his players and said they’re happy to be HBCU athletes instead of striving for greatness.
“I have no idea right now, that’s how upset I am,” Sanders said of his planned halftime message. “This is not indicative of who we are. We talk about dominating; we’re not dominating. We just want to be good. We don’t want to be great.
“We don’t want to dominate and go pro; we cool. We’re playing in the HBCU, we’re cool with that. I want these guys to think outside the dern box and we just playing down to the level of who we’re playing against.”
It would seem Sanders’ message, delivered on TV and in the locker room, resonated. JSU outscored Grambling 45-7 in the second half en route to an 66-24 win.
The nationally-ranked Tigers have won their first three games by a combined 141-30 margin. They host Mississippi Valley State next Saturday.