Deion Sanders' last game as the coach at Jackson State didn't disappoint. The 2022 Celebration Bowl was a back-and-forth affair between the Tigers and NC Central, and the Eagles made one more play to win 41-34 in overtime.
Despite coming into the game as a two-score underdog, NC Central brought the fight to Jackson State and held a 34-27 lead in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers weren't about to go down without a fight. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders and cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022, came up clutch to keep Jackson State alive.
As the clock ticked down to zero, Sanders dropped back to pass at the NC Central 19-yard line and launched a perfectly placed throw to Hunter in the end zone. Even with a defender in tight coverage, Hunter managed to secure the ball and get a foot down in the end zone.
That play by Hunter helped force overtime, but NC Central showed a lot of resolve and managed to regroup after the gut punch it suffered at the end of regulation. On the Eagles' first possession of overtime, quarterback Davius Richard finished off the drive with a 1-yard score on a quarterback sneak.
From there, it was up to the Eagles' defense, which wound up getting a goal-line stand in part when Jackson State tight end Hayden Hagler dropped what would have been a touchdown pass on third-and-goal. On fourth-and-goal, the Eagles managed to get some pressure on Shedeur Sanders, who threw an incomplete pass to seal the Celebration victory for NC Central.
NC Central's first Celebration Bowl victory came in dramatic fashion. Not only were the Eagles sizable underdogs, but they managed to knock off a Jackson State team that went 12-0 in the regular season under Sanders and 27-6 overall in three seasons. With their time at Jackson State over, Deion and Shedeur Sanders will now make their way to Colorado, where they will try to rebuild one of the worst Division I programs in major college football.