NC Central beat Jackson State to win the Cricket Celebration Bowl. What happened, who was the player of the game, and what does it all mean?
NC Central 41, Jackson State 34 OT, Cricket Celebration Bowl What Happened, Player of the Game, What It All Means
Cricket Celebration Bowl What Happened
– In a thrilling finish, NC Central took the overtime lead on QB Davius Richard’s one-yard pounding TD, and Shedeur Sanders failed to connect on his fourth down throw into the end zone on Jackson State’s turn.
Richard hit Latrell Collier for a touchdown pass for a late 34-27 Eagle lead, but Sanders drove the Tigers 81 yards with his 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter – and the extra point – forcing overtime. Sanders finished with 329 passing yards and four scores, and he ran for a touchdown.
– It was everything you want a bowl game to be. The intensity was there from the start on both sides, there were wild momentum swings, just one turnover, and a ton of energy and emotion. You’re not going to see a harder-played bowl game until the College Football Playoff.
– Jackson State got out to a slow start and rallied back, but its struggles to tackle proved costly. NC Central kept on pounding away, dominated the clock, and ended up being the more physical team, at least on the offensive side. Jackson State was hardly soft, but NC Central was able to bash.
Cricket Celebration Bowl Player of the Game
Davius Richard, QB NC Central
Richard completed 15-of-20 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, led the team with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown, and caught a pass for 31 yards.
Cricket Celebration Bowl Fun Stats
– Time of Possession: NC Central 38:09 – Jackson State 21:51
– 4th Downs: Both teams converted both of their tries
– Rushing Yards: NC Central 254 – Jackson State 64
Cricket Celebration Bowl What It All Means
No, this doesn’t mean that much going forward for the Deion Sanders era at Colorado. With that said, it’s not a great look that this is the second Celebration Bowl in a row that his team didn’t rise up and produce.
Last year his Tigers were boatraced by South Carolina State, and this time around the perfect season was stopped by an Eagle team that brought its A game from the start.
Was it a lack of focus with all that’s going on with his new gig? That might be a stretch, and it might not be fair – give NC Central credit for getting it done. That was a fight to the very end.
6-1. That’s what the MEAC is now in the Celebration Bowl against the SWAC, with the only loss by NC Central in 2016. Head coach Trei Oliver had his team ready, but this was hardly a crazy upset. The Eagles cranked up the offense all year long, it had talent, and it had a quarterback in Richard who could be the calmest guy in the room and get the job done.