The 2022 Celebration Bowl is not only going to be a revenge game for Jackson State but a farewell to Head Coach Deion Sanders as well. Coach Prime has been named the next head coach of Colorado, but will coach his Jackson State squad one final time. Jackson State played in the Celebration Bowl last season and lost to South Carolina State despite being favored in the contest. Coach Prime’s team is favored again this season. The 12-0 Tigers look for perfection against 9-2 North Carolina Central.
2022 Celebration Bowl: MEAC vs SWAC
Date: December 17, 2022
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Recent Celebration Bowl History
The SWAC champion, Jackson State, may be the favorite entering the 2022 Celebration Bowl, but the MEAC is 5-1 in the Celebration Bowl. Further, the two-time SWAC champs suffered a surprising loss to South Carolina State in this game a season ago. The last loss for the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl? 2016. North Carolina Central versus Grambling State. Can North Carolina Central continue the SWAC dominance? Or will Jackson State get Coach Prime an undefeated season before he heads west?
The SWAC Representative
Coach Prime isn’t the only Sanders leaving for Colorado. Starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders will be following his father in his move to becoming a Buffalo. In addition to following his father to the next school, he is also following his father’s lead and reportedly will play in the upcoming Celebration Bowl. Sanders comes into the contest with 3,838 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, and a 70.2 completion percentage during the 2022 season. The MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, Sanders, will have Shane Hooks on the receiving end to finalize his Jackson State career. Hooks leads the Tigers in receiving yards with 678 to go along with his 10 touchdowns. If those two weren’t enough for the Eagles to worry about, the Tigers also have a 1,000-yard rusher in Sy’Veon Wilkerson.
Jackson State’s offense won’t be alone in its level of production at the Celebration Bowl. The Tigers have the best defense in the FCS. Jackson State is only conceding 11 points per game. This is in part due to SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, Aubrey Miller Jr. The linebacker has accounted for a team-leading 54 tackles, two sacks, and three forced fumbles. North Carolina Central may have been the best in the FCS at converting on third down, but the Eagles will likely try to avoid third down as much as possible in this contest.
The MEAC Representative
North Carolina Central enters this contest with two more losses and two more weeks rest than Jackson State. The Eagles’ defense will have their hands full with the bevy of weapons at Sanders’ disposal, but they also have the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Safety, Khalil Baker is second on the team in total tackles and leads the team in interceptions with four. Baker also has a defensive touchdown to his name this season. He will undoubtedly be busy in the Celebration Bowl.
Not only do the Eagles have the DPOY, but they have the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year as well. Quarterback Davius Richard has accounted for 24 touchdowns, but also has 10 interceptions and has been sacked 16 times in 2022. If he hopes to get his team ahead in this contest, the MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year, right guard Robert Mitchell must get the rest of his linemen in shape to protect Richard against Miller Jr. and company. Head Coach Trei Oliver will have to get creative if he wants his squad to spoil Coach Prime’s going away party at the Celebration Bowl.
Photo courtesy of the Celebration Bowl.