LORMAN, MS (WLBT) - Saturday won’t be the day to admire the beauty of Alcorn State’s campus.
“Probably won’t be able to see no grass,” says Alcorn State head coach Fred McNair. “Everything will be covered, from vehicles to tailgates to RVs, everything. People. It’ll be crazy Saturday.”
The winner of the Soul Bowl plays in the SWAC title game. Alcorn, with a win, could even host the game December 1st, making Saturday the biggest game in recent years for a program who’s played in a few big ones. The Braves have played in each of the last four SWAC Championship games.
“This probably ranks number one,” says Alcorn senior defensive lineman Sterling Shippy, when asked where Saturday’s Soul Bowl ranks among the games he’s played in. “This is a big, big game right here.”
“It would be big for us,” Alcorn junior quarterback Noah Johnson says of the possibility of hosting the SWAC Championship game. “It would be big for the fans. It would be big for all the alumni. Hopefully, we just get the job done.”
But if there’s anything Jackson State would love to do more than win the SWAC East Division, it’s beat arch rival Alcorn to win the SWAC East Division.
“We do not like that school (Alcorn),” says JSU junior defensive back Ryan Theyard.
The Tigers expect a hostile crowd Saturday.
“We usually play good on the road, and I think that a crowd that is against us kind of gets us jacked up,” says JSU interim coach John Hendrick. “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere.”
A win Saturday would cap a remarkable turnabout for Jackson State. Head coach Tony Hughes left the program three weeks ago. But now the Tigers sit on the precipice of an East Division crown.
“With everything at stake,” says JSU junior wide receiver Romello Shumake, “we’re playing so much tighter, knowing that a championship is on the line come Saturday.”