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Deion Sanders, Jackson State not interested in playing games that "need to borrow gas money"

Coach Prime has been outspoken in changing his JSU team's schedule

A week ago, it was a near-perfect offensive performance – led by the head coach’s son.

This time, it was suffocating defense – though the head coach wasn’t exactly pleased with an inability to record a shutout.

Deion Sanders’s nationally ranked Jackson State squad bottled up rival Tennessee State, 16-3, Saturday night in Memphis in the 2022 Southern Heritage Classic.

“You gotta understand who our defense are,” Sanders said when asked to assess the JSU defensive performance. “These guys are relentless. They’re picking up where they left off a year ago.

“They’re very dominant, relentless. When a team scores on us, it’s usually something we did. That’s not taking anything away from Coach (Eddie) George, and his team, but normally it’s something that we did.”

What JSU did prior to Coach Prime’s arrival was enter into a long-term agreement to participate in the Southern Heritage Classic against Tennessee State and to have that contest hosted by Memphis’s Liberty Bowl, with FedEx a title sponsor and each school guaranteed a certain payout per the contract.

Sanders has continued to bemoan that pact, and he has declared his JSU squad will not participate in the Classic into the future – not in its current terms.

“I don’t know what … well what I’m saying is we’ve got to do better business,” Sanders told reporters in Memphis Saturday night. “That’s what I was talking about. Whether we do it in Jackson (Mississippi) or Tennessee, I’m good. I’m good.

“If you get the busines right, we’ll do it here. But I’m for the business making sure these kids are straight. Not coming out there and needing to stop to borrow some gas money on the way back. That’s what this is about. I’m looking out for the best interest of our kids. That’s what I’m saying.”

Sanders emphasized his stance is strictly business and zero about a rivalry with TSU, coached by the former Tennessee Titans star whom Sanders said is a dear friend.

“ As far as the rivalry?,” Sanders asked. “All of us just got here. (Asking players) You know anything about the rivalry? We don’t know nothing about that.”

Sanders’s Jackson State program is slated to host HBCU rival Grambling State next Saturday, as the Tigers continue defense of their Southwestern Athletic Conference title from Prime’s first full season.