Jackson State again had to overcome a sluggish start.
And the Tigers again had to win without their head coach.
But they did both Saturday at Southwestern Athletic Conference in-state rival Mississippi Valley State.
Ahead only 7-6 at the break, Jackson State pulled away for a 28-19 win against MVSU – and secured its second win in as many weeks without head coach Deion Sanders, who has recently been hospitalized after Sanders said his “team of doctors” had ordered him not to coach the Tigers.
Sanders last month had surgery on his left foot and had utilized both crutches and a scooter for mobility.
After the Tigers' win Saturday improved them to 7-1 overall and helped them remain undefeated in SWAC play, Sanders addressed his absence on social media.
“We have truly been tested these past couple of weeks regarding our strength, mentally and physically, as individuals, and as a team,” Sanders tweeted. “I AM SO DARN PROUD of each and every one of these young men and women that are a part and connected to this team.
“As you know, recovering from my recent surgeries has taken longer than expected. (Mostly because I could not sit my butt down somewhere.). Thank GOD I have a wonderful team of Doctors and Nurses and I am still under their care.”
Sanders had surgery Sept. 22 to repair damage to his left foot, and specifically to his toes, that had become a lingering problem from Sanders' professional baseball and football careers.
Though Sanders' statement on social media alluded to his recovery from “surgeries,” he previously only has disclosed a single surgery – and included a gruesome photo of his stitched-up foot on his social media page.
Multiple sources told FootballScoop in the past week that Sanders had been hospitalized in a Jackson, Mississippi-area hospital, and a picture of Sanders in a hospital bed briefly appeared Friday on one of Sanders' social media platforms.
Sanders did not disclose on Saturday if he remained hospitalized but rather said he looked forward to his return to his first full season atop the Tigers' program as a collegiate head coach.
“I can't wait to get back on the field with my JSU Tigers,” Sanders said.