SWAC Championship 2022

Jackson State football’s Travis Hunter has Southern on alert for SWAC championship game Jackson State shut out Southern 35-0.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” will not be there this time. For the second consecutive year, Jackson State will play for the SWAC crown. Expect more than the 53,885 fans that showed up on Oct. 29 along with the iconic college football pregame show, a rivalry in which Jackson State shut out Southern 35-0.

Jackson State has been on a roll all season, going undefeated at 11-0 overall and 8-0 in the SWAC East. The Tigers’ defense has been dominant all season long, but when freshman phenom Travis Hunter returned to play full-time, it went to another level.

Hunter’s value has been his ability to make big plays on both sides of the ball in the last three games. Hunter played in the first game of the season as Jackson State crushed Florida A&M 59-3 on Sept.4 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. After that, he missed the next five games with injuries.

“The eye in the sky will never lie,” Southern coach Eric Dooley said. “The young man is extremely talented. The young man has a high IQ for football.”

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In Jackson State’s win against Alcorn, Hunter owned the field. In the second quarter with the Tigers trailing 7-3, Braves quarterback Tre Lawrence was looking for receiver Monterio Hunt on a comeback route. Hunter jumped the route and took the ball away, scoring from 44 yards out to give JSU a 17-7 lead.

As Alcorn had kicked a field goal and was mounting a comeback, Hunter caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in the corner, doing a toe-tap over the outstretched hands of two defenders to put the game out of reach making it 24-13.

Hunter a five-star recruit, was selected as the BOXTOROW National Player of the Week and SWAC Newcomer of the Week after the Alcorn State game. On the season, he has 13 catches for 140 yards and two TDs along with 12 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups in six games.

“You can look at it and see that he plays with a lot of confidence. When you play with a lot of confidence, it solves a lot of problems. He has a lot of talent behind that confidence,” Dooley said of Hunter. “We know the young man can play. Anyone that watches him can see he can play. So, we have some challenges.”

Dooley said not only is Hunter a problem for his team, but linebacker Aubrey Miller is a player that plays from sideline to sideline and tackle to tackle. For Southern to win, it will have to score points. In its last game against JSU on Oct. 29, the Jaguars were kept out of the end zone and held to 221 yards of total offense. Look for Southern to get freshman running back Karl Ligon going as he rushed for 66 yards in their first game. Wide receiver Cassius Allen also will be looking to have a big day.

“Travis is a great player,” Jackson State coach Deion Sanders said after the Alcorn game. “Travis was doing these types of things that you’re now seeing him do in the spring. We were just competing against ourselves. Travis had that type of game in the spring game. That wasn’t new to us. It was new to everyone out there.”

Jackson State will play Southern (7-4, 5-3 SWAC West) at 3 p.m., on Dec. 3, at Veterans Memorial Stadium.