Inside the environment: Jackson State

Before I make my lone Division III stop at Millsaps this weekend, I first need to talk about my experience at the capital city’s largest university, Jackson State.

Two weekends ago, I went up to Jackson for the Tigers’ homecoming contest versus Alabama State. As someone who went to a handful of Jackson State football games growing up, I will say that this was – with ease – the best showing I’ve ever seen at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I made my way to the golden arches of McDonald’s and got a bite to eat (Fact: The Big Breakfast at McDonald’s is the only way to go). On my way to Belhaven Park, which is one of my favorite spots in Jackson to eat take out, I noticed that Riverside Drive, State Street, and Woodrow Wilson Avenue were already filling up with cars.

This was a good sign.

By the time I made it to the stadium, people were everywhere. The tailgate scene was out of this world. Jackson State fans really do know how to tailgate, no matter what the season’s looking like. The lines to get into the stadium were longer than those you see leading up to the commencement of Black Friday. I stood in line for an hour before finally making it in.

Outside of a couple of nosebleed sections, the stadium was virtually full with the final attendance being recorded at 53,578. It was really something special to see Veterans that full again. It was the largest homecoming attendance in Jackson State history. It was the 10th largest crowd for a Jackson State home game ever. And, it’s the largest crowd Veterans Memorial has seen since 1996 when 62,512 fans showed up for the Jackson State-Alcorn State game.

On top of all of that, it’s the largest crowd any FCS game has seen this season.

Absolutely outstanding.

From what I can tell, the Tigers’ 2021 homecoming truly exemplified the culture that head coach Deion Sanders has brought back to this storied program. The win, the near sell-out in the state’s third-largest venue. It’s all incredible. And, it’s all how it should be.

Thee, I love.

Next stop: Millsaps


Written by J.T. Mitchell

J.T. Mitchell is a multimedia journalist out of Jackson, Mississippi, who worked extensively for both News Mississippi and SuperTalk Mississippi before coming aboard as managing editor for Our Mississippi Home. He is also the author of Pocket Grammar: 24 Mistakes You'll Never Make Again. J.T. received his education from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he studied both English and philosophy. Contact J.T. at [email protected]

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