North Carolina Central Eagles pulled a massive upset this past Saturday! Coming into the game as heavy underdogs to the Tigers of Jackson State, the Eagles were able to get a 41-34 victory in the most historic Celebration Bowl matchup to date.
Taking the reigns of a young team, head coach Tre Oliver returned to NCCU as head coach after spending the previous three seasons (2016-18) as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Southern University. During his time there, he led the Jaguars to a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) West division championship and a trip to the SWAC championship game.
In the prior 15 seasons (2004-18) as a coach at four different universities, Oliver was a part of only one season with fewer than seven wins. During that time, he has celebrated 124 victories for an average of more than eight triumphs per year and a winning percentage of .725. Before his stint at Southern University, He served as the outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina A&T State University for four years (2011-15), and were declared the black college football national champions in his final campaign with the Aggies winning the Celebration Bowl with a 10-2 overall record.
Now, most of the focus was on Deion Sanders after he officially announced he will be taking the head coaching position at Colorado, but Central was worth being talked about as well. NCCU finished with a 9-2 record (4-1 conference record) and were crowned Co-MEAC Champions with Howard. While JSU finished 12-0 (8-0 conference record) with their head coach departing for a power five job.
Jackson State’s defense look awful in the first half as they allowed 152 total rushing yards. NCCU Quarterback Davius Richard rushed for 97 yards of those yards along with two total touchdowns, including a 1-yard QB sneak in overtime. Richard showed his versatility on a three-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown. He had a 21-yard run, a 30-yard catch on a trick play, and a 5-yard scoring run that gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead. Shedeur Sanders, on the other hand, looked to make a statement in his final game at Jackson completing 13 of 14 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and had four carries for 34 yards with another score in the half. This gave the Tigers a 21-17 lead. A fake punt by Central early in the second half, helped the Eagles reclaim the lead. Tight end Kyle Morgan took the snap on the fake punt and ran 43 yards to the Jackson State 24. Richard’s 12-yard scoring pass to Quentin McCall gave North Carolina Central a 23-21 lead with a missed extra point attempt.
The game was a series of back-and-forth scores, but ultimately North Carolina Central would prevail.
- HBCUFebruary 28, 2023HBCU Legacy Bowl 2023
- NCAAFFebruary 4, 2023Team West Wins Field Goal Filled East-West Shrine Game
- NCAAFDecember 19, 2022NC Central Upsets Jackson State in Wild Celebration Bowl, 41-34
- NCAAFSeptember 27, 2022Hornets Come Up Short in SWAC Opener to Prairie View, 24-15