Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium puts spotlight on HBCUs

Hard Rock Stadium is hosting the Orange Blossom Classic on Sunday.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Hard Rock Stadium is hosting the Orange Blossom Classic on Sunday.

The game will feature the Florida A&M University Rattlers facing off against the Jackson State University Tigers.

“Whoever wins this game has a leg up in the conference race,” said FAMU Head Coach Willie Simmons.

“We don’t want to win, we want to dominate,” said Jackson State Head Coach Deion Sanders.

The event puts the focus on HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the rich history surrounding football and the community.

JSU traveling to Miami Gardens from the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, where residents are dealing with a dire water crisis.

“The water issues in Jackson, Mississippi was something that was very unexpected, but our coaches did a great job of just putting us all in a hotel and just taking care of business,” said JSU Quarterback Shedeur Sanders.

Both teams are hoping to come out of Hard Rock Stadium with a big win.

“If we continue to do the little things, we put it all together, then this will definitely be a successful team,” said FAMU Wide Receiver Xavier Smith.

The Orange Blossom Classic was first played during segregation in Miami.

It returned in 2021 following a 43 year hiatus and continues to put the spotlight on HBCU traditions, focusing on athletics, academics and the all-important battle of the bands.

“We bring the HBCU’s here so that our kids can experience that HBCU culture firsthand,” said Kendra Bullock, Executive Director of the Orange Blossom Classic.

The game kicks off from Hard Rock Stadium at 3 p.m. and a fanfest will take place outside the stadium beginning at 11 a.m.

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.