Jackson State and coach Deion Sanders became the darling of the FCS spring season as the Tigers rolled to an undefeated start in their first 3 games.

But Alabama State spoiled the party on Saturday with a late 50-yard touchdown from Ezra Gray, who sped away from the JSU defenders with just 1:30 remaining in the game. Then Alabama State picked off a JSU pass to seal the victory, 35-28.

JSU fell to 3-1 with the loss. The Tigers were coming off a 43-7 pounding of Mississippi Valley State last week, and the program hadn’t been 3-0 since 2011. The Tigers haven’t won a conference title since 2007 and had plenty of momentum rolling into Montgomery, Alabama.

QB Jalon Jones was once again a key player for JSU with 3 touchdowns, 180 yards passing and 94 yards rushing. But he also had 2 interceptions. It was Jones who scored from 2 yards out with 1:42 remaining to tie the game at 28.

The JSU defense also picked up 3 turnovers from Alabama State. ASU rolled up 466 total yards, including 209 rushing.

Early in the week, Sanders told the Clarion-Ledger that the Tigers would always have a target on them from opponents.

“They’re always going to be the hunted because of me,” Sanders said. “The thing about it, the same thing that provokes you to shine, it shows your blemishes. That light, everybody wants to be in that light, but that light can work two ways for you.”