NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State University released its 2019 football schedule on Thursday, a 12-game slate that features five home games and seven road games, including three against Division I FCS and FBS opponents.
This fall will mark the first season since 2014 that Football Championship Subdivision teams can schedule 12 regular-season games. For NSU, that means four non-conference matchups, two of which will be against in-state foes and two others against first-time opponents.
“We’ve put together a very difficult schedule,” NSU head coach Latrell Scott said. “Our team is always up for a challenge and this year’s non-conference schedule will provide us with several.”
The Spartans open the year against Norfolk neighbor Old Dominion on Aug. 31. The game is slated to be the first-ever contest at ODU’s newly-renovated stadium, following the demolition of the majority of S.B. Ballard Stadium at Foreman Field after the 2018 season. It will mark the fourth series meeting and the teams’ first matchup since 2015, Scott’s first season leading the Spartans.
The following week, NSU plays its home opener on Sept. 7 against Virginia State. The long-time rivals will be playing for the 53rd time in their history. NSU opened the 2018 season with a 34-13 win over the Trojans.
The rest of the non-conference slate features two new opponents to the Spartans’ schedule in a pair of one-game contracts. NSU will travel to Conway, South Carolina to face Coastal Carolina on Sept. 14. The Chanticleers, formerly an FCS power in the Big South Conference, will be in their third full year at the FBS level next season and are members of the Sun Belt Conference.
NSU caps its non-MEAC games with one of its longest road trips ever. The Spartans face Montana State of the Big Sky Conference in Bozeman, Montana, on Sept. 21 in the teams’ first-ever meeting. It will be NSU’s first game outside the Eastern time zone since playing Delaware State in the Gold Coast Classic in San Diego in 2001. The Bobcats of Montana State went 8-5 last season and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs.
“Coastal Carolina has established a strong tradition in football, so we’re looking forward to seeing how we measure up against another FBS opponent,” Scott said. “The game at Montana State will give our players an opportunity to see a different part of the country and play a strong opponent from one of the top FCS conferences. We will definitely have an idea of what sort of team we are following those games.”
The Spartans’ remaining eight games are MEAC contests. Following Savannah State’s departure from the MEAC after the 2018-19 academic year, there will be nine remaining MEAC football programs, meaning the league will play a true eight-game round-robin format next fall. NSU opens MEAC play against Florida A&M at Dick Price Stadium on Sept. 28. The Spartans also have home conference games with defending MEAC champion North Carolina A&T on Oct. 5, Morgan State for homecoming on Nov. 2, and South Carolina State to conclude the regular season on Nov. 23.
The Spartans’ road MEAC games will be at Howard (Oct. 12), Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 19), North Carolina Central (Nov. 9) and Delaware State (Nov. 16). The Spartans’ open week is Oct. 26.