Photo: Dale Zanine, Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina Central Wins Overtime Battle Against Jackson State In 2022 Celebration Bowl

North Carolina Central entered the game as 14-point underdogs to Jackson State, but left Atlanta with the first Celebration Bowl win in school history. The Eagles only needed four plays to take the 41-34 lead in the first overtime period, then the defense made a clutch goal line stand to clinch the victory for North Carolina Central in the 2022 Celebration Bowl.

The offensive execution for the Eagles defined the game as North Carolina Central totaled 460 yards of offense against the top ranked defense in the country and scored 41 points, which is the most points in a game that Jackson State has allowed this season.

Davius Richard led the Eagles with 175 passing yards, 94 rushing yards, and two total touchdowns on Saturday. The Eagles were extremely balanced as Latrell Collier had 79 rushing yards and one touchdown, plus delivered a highlight play in overtime with his massive stiff arm to set up the game-winning touchdown. 

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The North Carolina Central offensive line had an outstanding day as the unit only allowed one sack against a Jackson State defense that led the country in sacks entering the game. The Eagles also averaged over 6.0 yards per carry and found the endzone three times on the ground. 

North Carolina Central forced Jackson State to be one-dimensional on the offensive side of the ball as the Tigers only totaled 64 yards rushing and averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry. Khalil Baker led the Eagles with 10 total tackles, while Jason Chambers also had a big game for North Carolina Central with 9 total tackles.

Shedeur Sanders had 329 yards passing and five total touchdowns, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter as time expired in regulation. Jackson State pushed the ball to the goal line on their overtime possession, but a crucial drop by Hayden Hagler on third down cost Jackson State the game-tying touchdown.

Kevin Coleman Jr. led the Tigers with seven catches for 137 receiving yards and one touchdown, while Travis Hunter led the team with two receiving touchdowns. Sy’Veon Wilkerson was the leading rusher with 48 yards on 13 carries for the Tigers. 

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North Carolina Central finishes the season with a 10-2 record and will be the 2022 Black College National Champions. It is the first 10-win season in school history for the Eagles after their victory in the Celebration Bowl. Head coach Trei Oliver wins his second Celebration Bowl championship as he was OLB coach for the 2015 North Carolina A&T program that won the inaugural Celebration Bowl. 

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