|Norfolk State head coach Pete Adrian and his team will look to bounce back from last years disappointing season.|
NORFOLK, Va. – Less than week after fans learned the news about who it would not be playing, Norfolk State released it’s 2013 football schedule. It includes including three Division I FCS non-conference matchups and another game against FBS opponent Rutgers.
Maine of the Colonial Athletic Association, Charleston Southern of the Big South Conference and FCS independent Old Dominion will all visit William “Dick” Price Stadium this upcoming season. The non-conference slate also includes a third all-time trip to Rutgers, the Spartans’ fourth straight year playing a Division I FBS team which advanced to a bowl game the previous season.
The home conference schedule includes games with Savannah State, Hampton, Florida A&M and South Carolina State.
“I feel like this could be the most competitive schedule we’ve ever played,” NSU head coach Pete Adrian said. “In addition, our home schedule is outstanding and has to be one of the most attractive we’ve ever had for our fans. The schedule is quite a challenge, but our players are excited about it and I think they will be up to the challenge.”
Division I FCS schools are permitted to play 12 regular-season games the next two years since there are 13 Saturdays between the Labor Day and Thanksgiving weekends.
The schedule kicks off with a first-ever matchup between NSU and Maine on Saturday, Aug. 31. The Black Bears went 5-6 overall last season, 4-4 in the CAA. This marks the start of a two-year, home-and-home series between the schools, with NSU returning to Maine to kick off the 2014 schedule.
The following week (Sept. 7), NSU will travel to Piscataway, N.J., to face the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers for a third time. The teams also squared off in 2007 and 2010, with Rutgers winning both matchups. Rutgers went 9-4 in 2012 and was one of four Big East teams to tie for first place with 5-2 conference records. The Scarlet Knights lost to Virginia Tech 20-17 in the Russell Athletic Bowl last month.
NSU will enjoy a bye week on Sept. 14 before hosting Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 21 in the Fish Bowl Classic. The teams have met once before, with the Spartans earning a 33-3 victory in Charleston in 2011. The Buccaneers went 5-6 overall, 3-3 to take fourth place in the Big South this past season.
MEAC play opens for NSU on Sept. 28 as it travels to Baltimore, Md., to face Morgan State. The Spartans have won the last six meetings in the series.
The October slate gets underway on Oct. 5 as NSU will host Savannah State for a second consecutive year. Following a road contest at Delaware State on Oct. 12, the Spartans will then host three straight games at Dick Price Stadium. Hampton visits Norfolk for the annual Battle of the Bay game on Oct. 19. The following week, NSU will play host to cross-town foe ODU on Saturday, Oct. 26. The teams have met once previously, a 35-18 ODU victory in the first round of the 2011 FCS playoffs. The Monarchs are playing as an FCS independent in 2013 before joining the Division I FBS ranks in Conference USA in 2014. They advanced to the FCS quarterfinals this past season.
The three-game homestand concludes on Nov. 2 as Florida A&M travels to Norfolk for NSU’s 2013 homecoming. The teams have not played the last two seasons in the MEAC’s unbalanced schedule.
November’s schedule continues with road games at 2012 MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 9 and at North Carolina Central on Nov. 16. Like FAMU, NCCU rotates onto the Spartans’ schedule for the next two years, while Howard and North Carolina A&T rotate off. NSU and NCCU have not met since the Eagles transitioned to the Division I level in 2011. Their last meeting came in 1995 when both played in the Division II CIAA.
The regular-season schedule wraps up on Nov. 23 as the Spartans host South Carolina State for Senior Day.