JACKSON (AP) – Isaiah Bolden returned a 91-yard kickoff and James Houston IV caught a pass in the backfield and returned it five yards for a score as Jackson State opened a tight game in the third quarter to beat Prairie View A&M 27-10, and on Saturday won their first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 13 years.
The Tigers (11-1) also wrapped up the school’s 11-game first season.
The Jackson State defense forced four turnovers from Prairie View quarterback Jawon Pass, registering three assists and forcing a fumble in the third quarter. The transfer of the Louisville graduates, who threw for just under 2,000 yards, was limited to just 6 of 19 for 80 yards.
Prairie View scored the first goal. Ty Holden took a pass throw, stopped and lobed a pass to a wide-open Jailon Howard for a 35-yard touchdown with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
Jackson State responded with a 65-yard drive in six games, capped by a 16-yard pass to Shedeur Sanders’ Malachi Wideman, SWAC freshman of the year and son of coach Deion Sanders.
Luis Reyes led the Panthers with a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter, but Prairie View didn’t score.
Bolden took the next kick off, found a seam and ran for 91 yards for the touchdown and a 13-10 lead at halftime.
The Tigers forced a pass fumble on Prairie View’s first possession of the second half, and with the Panthers deep in their own turf, Houston entered the backfield, flipping a pass, snatching it through the air and sending her back five yards for a touchdown in the middle of the third quarter.
Jackson State ended his SWAC title with a 48-yard rush at the end of the third quarter, topped by a five-yard rush from Peytton Pickett, who finished with 107 rushing yards on 19 carries.
The SWAC title comes with a spot in the 2021 Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 18. The Tigers will face Middle East Conference champion South Carolina State (6-5).