Bethune-Cookman, Jackson State to meet at TIAA Bank Field in October

FILE - Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders points during an NCAA football game against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Monroe, La. Travis Hunter, the No. 1 high school football recruit in the country, pulled a signing day shocker Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, deciding to attend Jackson State and play for coach Deion Sanders after being verbally committed to Florida State for months. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File) (Matthew Hinton, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – TIAA Bank Field will serve as host to a big matchup in HBCU football.

Bethune-Cookman University will meet Deion Sanders’ Jackson State program on Oct. 15.

The game was moved from BCU’s Daytona Stadium to Jacksonville, marking the first time the Wildcats have played here since the Gateway Classic in 2006, a 30-29 loss to Southern.

“It is going to be great for our guys to get the chance to play in a NFL stadium,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Terry Sims said in a release. “For us, to play in a city like Jacksonville, with our great supporting alumni associations, it will be very exciting, and it is still a close enough drive up the road for our regular crowds from Daytona to attend. We are looking forward to the opportunity for our team and for our fans.”

BCU went 2-9 last season but won two of its last three games.

Outside of the regional appeal of the Wildcats, Sanders’ Jackson State program is one of the biggest risers in HBCU football. The Tigers pulled a stunner when they signed receiver/cornerback Travis Hunter, the No. 1 prospect in the country, last December. The five-star flipped from Florida State on the first day of the early signing period.

Jackson State went 11-2 last season, ending its year with a 31-10 loss to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl. In the pandemic-plagued 2020 season that was played in the spring of 2021, the Tigers went 4-3 in Sanders’ first year.

“The City of Jacksonville is excited to host the Bethune-Cookman University vs. Jackson State University football game at TIAA Bank Field this fall,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “This game is another great example of the premier sports and entertainment events making their way to Downtown Jacksonville. We look forward to welcoming players, students, and fans from throughout the region to our beautiful city.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.