Southern University football will make their third appearance in the MEAC/SWAC challenge before facing two Football Bowl Subdivision opponents during the Jaguars 2017 schedule, officials announced Friday.
Southern welcomes South Carolina State – and a nationally televised audience – to Baton Rouge and A.W. Mumford Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3. in the 11th installment of the ESPN Events sponsored game. The Jaguars hold the distinction of being the only SWAC school to win in the 10-year history of the challenge, claiming wins over Florida A&M in 2007 in Birmingham, Ala. and Delaware State in 2010 in Orlando.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge features teams from two prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the opening weekend of the college football season and is aired on an ESPN network. Prior to the 2016 game, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge originated as a neutral site game at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. before relocating to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
SU head coach Dawson Odums and former Alcorn State head coach Jay Hobson reunite on the gridiron when the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, 2016 New Orleans Bowl champions, host the Jaguars on September 9 in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Following their first-ever meeting with Southern Miss, Southern heads to the Alamodome for the inaugural meeting against UT-San Antonio led by former LSU assistant coach and current Roadrunners’ head coach Frank Wilson. In his first season, Wilson guided the Roadrunners to a Gildan New Mexico Bowl berth before losing to New Mexico 23-20 on Dec. 17.
Southern returns to the state of Mississippi to open the SWAC’s new 7-game format against 3-time SWAC eastern division champ Alcorn State before NCAA Division II member Fort Valley State closes the Jaguars’ nonconference schedule at Mumford Stadium on Sept. 30.
The league office elected to implement a 4-2-1 schedule format which requires conference teams to play four opponents within their division, two permanent cross-divisional foes and one team rotating yearly as a part of the conference slate.
The Jaguars, who finished 8-3 – 8-1 in SWAC play – last season and reeled off eight straight wins, host Alabama A&M for homecoming on Oct. 7, then observe their first bye week off the season on Oct. 14.
Arch rival Jackson State awaits SU following the off week on Oct. 21 in Jackson, Miss. before the Jaguars tangle with Arkansas-Pine Bluff on the road Oct. 28.
The month of November opens with a pair of Texas schools when Southern salutes their 2017 senior class in the home finale against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 4. After the Texas Southern game on Nov. 11 in Houston, Southern entertains one final bye week before looking to snap a two-game losing skid to Grambling State in the 44th annual Bayou Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Nov. 25.
Teams on Southern’s 11-game schedule compiled a 59-68 record in 2016.
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