Jackson State, in its first full season under NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as its coach, is off to a 3-1 start and, perhaps not surprisingly, playing suffocating defense.
The Tigers, however, are still trying to find their footing on offense.
After winning their opener against Florida A&M, 7-6, and having the nation's No. 85 Football Championship Subdivision scoring offense at 19 points per game, the Tigers are preparing to lean more on veteran assistant coach T.C. Taylor to call much of the offense this weekend.
JSU is playing Alabama A&M this weekend in what is quickly becoming one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's more entertaining rivalries – on and off the field.
The Bulldogs enter the game owning a 52-43 win against Sanders' Tigers from this past spring season.
Sanders and A&M coach Connell Maynor are some 24 hours away from kickoff after verbally sparring earlier this week – even with Sanders proclaiming the high road.
“It's a little rivalry, it's a little blood in between,” Sanders said. “You know, the coach says something about me, I don't shoot back. Because I don't do that because I'm really good at that. I'm on this high road right now. I take the high road, right? I'm a different dude. So I don't do that. But you know, everybody is waiting for me to do that at the conclusion of this matter.
“We're just going to have to sit and see. Am I going to do that?”
On the field, Taylor has the background to perhaps help lift up the Tigers' struggling offense. A former quarterback and wideout at JSU, Taylor also is well-versed in directing an offense after serving five seasons as North Carolina Central's offensive coordinator.
Alabama A&M enters the game somewhat an opposite of the Tigers. The Bulldogs are averaging 36.25 points-per-game on offense while allowing 35 points per game – the No. 94 scoring defense in FCS.