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Jackson State wide receiver Malachi Wideman is uncontested as he prepares to pull in the game-winning touchdown pass, after Southern cornerback Robert Rhem, left, slipped and fell on the play Saturday night, Nov. 13, 2021, at A.W. Mumford Stadium. JSU came back to win 21-17, scoring on the pass with 1:31 left to play.

Heated rivals Southern and Jackson State added another exciting chapter into their long series history Saturday at A.W. Mumford Stadium.

What happened after the final play left a smudge unworthy of the Jaguars’ biggest home crowd of the season.

After Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders knelt down to run the final seconds off the clock in a 21-17 victory, players from both sides moved onto the field for postgame handshakes. But some of the groups escalated into shoving, scuffling and throwing punches in several places throughout.

The skirmishes never got completely out of control, but they lasted for a few uncomfortable minutes. Eventually, law enforcement, coaches and administrators intervened enough for the teams could go their separate ways, and the Jaguars stood in front of the Human Jukebox for the playing of the Southern alma mater.

Afterwards, coach Jason Rollins declined to comment despite being asked three times.

“I’d have to see it on film,” Rollins said. “There were a lot of things going on, I didn’t see a whole bunch. It’s something I would have to see. I don’t want to make a comment on that.”

The Southwestern Athletic Conference released a statement late Saturday, saying it will review the fight.

"After a comprehensive review, the Conference Office will make a determination regarding necessary next steps in accordance with the league’s constitution and bylaws," the statement reads. 

"The Southwestern Athletic Conference upholds a high standard of good sportsmanship and any conduct deemed detrimental to those efforts will be handled appropriately."

Jackson State running backs coach Gary Harrell was in charge of the team in place of head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who presided on the JSU sideline in a motorized wheelchair. Sanders missed the past three JSU games while hospitalized for complications regarding foot surgery he underwent a month ago.

Rollins said he did shake hands with and speak to Sanders after the game.

“I just said congratulations, great game, be safe and good luck,” Rollins said.

Skelton starts

Southern started senior Ladarius Skelton at quarterback for the first time since the McNeese State game Sept. 18. It was his third start of the year and 27th of his career.

Skelton played the first three series but was replaced in the third by Bubba McDaniel, who completed a 14-yard pass on third-and-15 to set up Southern’s first score on Jerodd Sims’ 21-yard TD run.

“We always have a Ladarius Skelton package,” Rollins said. “If they give us a certain defensive personnel, that’s when we go to it.”

Skelton was 2-of-6 passing for 29 yards and ran twice for minus-2 yards. He entered the game with 6,765 yards and 59 touchdowns rushing and passing in his career

Sacking again

Jordan Lewis, who leads FCS in career sacks with 34, got his first one since the Texas Southern game Oct. 9 when he dropped Shedeur Sanders for a 10-yard loss in the first quarter.

Running again

Sims led Southern with 98 yards on 25 carries and his fourth TD this season. He had 17 carries for 79 yards in Southern’s 34-14 victory against Jackson State in the spring season.

Senior salute

Sixteen seniors were honored before the game for playing their final game at A.W. Mumford Stadium: LB Keyshawn Acker, RB Devon Benn, OG Johnathan Bishop, DB Kordell Caldwell; DB Jordan Eastling; P Martell Fontenot; DB Chase Foster; LB Brian Jordan; WR Marquis McClain; DE Tyran Nash; DB Jakoby Pappillion; QB Ladarius Skelton; LB Daniel Edwards, LB Kennen Tate; WR Jamar Washington; DT Jordan Woods.

Injuries

The Jaguars were as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. RBs Jerodd Sims and Kobe Dillon returned to action after missing last week’s game. DT Camron Peterson and CB Glenn Brown both started after leaving last week’s game with injuries.

Numerology

Southern had won the previous eight meetings and leads the series 37-30. ... JSU’s last victory was in 2013, 19-14. ... Freshman TE Gregory Perkins had his first catch of the season for a 32-yard TD. It was his third career catch and second TD. ... The crowd of 25,379 was larger than the homecoming crowd of 24,580 four weeks ago. ... Southern LB Ray Anderson had six tackles and his third forced fumble. ... Letrelle Johnson had his first sack of the season and Tyran Nash his second.

Captains

Southern captains were OT Ja’Tyre Carter and DE Jalen Ivy. Jackson State won the coin toss and deferred the option to the second half. Southern elected to receive the opening kickoff.