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Tailgating starts early for Southern Heritage Classic

Jackson State fans beat the sun and alarm clock Friday morning, tailgating ahead of the Classic.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One of the most exciting showdowns of the year is one night away, but the tailgating is already underway at Tiger Lane for the 32nd Southern Heritage Classic.

Saturday night, Jackson State University squares off against Tennessee State University where new head coaches and former NFL stars Deion Sanders and Eddie George will meet.

Jackson State fans were the first ones up on Friday morning, getting the music and grills fired up before the sun came up.

"My tailgate is all about fun, enjoying family but I have never been more excited to have a tailgate this year with Coach Prime," Jabbarsco Holloway, of Horn Lake, said. "He got us looking good, feeling good, smelling good. We're going to eat good and play good. We're going to do everything good."

Holloway, like many, has been coming to the Classic for years and missed it last year when the pandemic canceled the festivities.

Kevin Cole came up from Bay Springs, Mississippi.

"Last year, it put a damper on our parade," Cole said. "This year we got a chance when it opened back up. 60 pounds of catfish, 40 pounds of chicken, we got ribs and everybody going to have a good time."

Across Tiger Lane, TSU's Aristocrat of Bands was up early warming up for their performance for ESPN.

First Take had plans to be at Tiger Lane on Friday but canceled due to a rise in Delta cases.

Tailgate spots sold out for the event in under four hours.

The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday.