UPDATED: Morgan State’s game versus Bowling Green was added to this article.
Four teams from the MEAC have Thursday night contests to begin the 2019 football season. Here are the previews.
Delaware State Hornets (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Delaware Blue Hens (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
Thursday, Aug 29 • Delaware Stadium • Newark, Del. • 7 p.m.
TV: FloSports • Live Stats
This game marks the ninth Battle of the First State. The Blue Hens, out of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), have dominated the series, winning all eight games – including the previous meeting, 22-3, back in 2017. The Hornets had eight players named to the preseason All-MEAC teams, including linebacker Brian Canicante, who was named the MEAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Florida A&M Rattlers (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) vs. #17 UCF Knights (0-0, 0-0 AAC)
Thursday, Aug. 29 • Spectrum Stadium • Orlando, Fla. • 7:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network • Live Stats
The two Florida schools meet for the just the second time, with FAMU winning the lone matchup, 19-14, back in 1987. The Rattlers had twelve players named to the preseason All-MEAC team, including redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Stanley, graduate defensive back Terry Jefferson, and sophomore receiver Xavier Smith. Smith was also named to the Black College Player of the Year watchlist.
North Carolina Central Eagles (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Austin Peay Governors (0-0, 0-0 OVC)
Thursday, Aug. 29 • Fortera Stadium • Clarksville, Tenn. • 8 p.m.
TV: ESPN+ • Live Stats
This matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools. It also marks the head coaching debut of Trei Oliver, who returns to his alma mater. The Eagles had seven players named to the preseason All-MEAC teams. Redshirt junior running back Isaiah Totten, and senior defensive linemen Darius Royster and Kawuan Cox, were among those named. Totten was also named to the Black College Hall of Fame Player of the Year watchlist.
Morgan State Bears (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) vs. Bowling Green Falcons (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday, Aug. 29 • Doyt Perry Stadium • Bowling Green, Ohio • 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN3 • Live Stats
The Bears will kick off the 2019 season, and the Tyrone Wheatley era, on Thursday at Bowling Green. Thursday night’s game will mark the second-ever meeting between the two schools; the Falcons won the previous matchup, 58-13, back in 2011. After splitting snaps with Deandre Harris last season, redshirt sophomore DJ Golatt, Jr., will take over the starting role full-time for Morgan State, and the Bears also return senior linebackers Rico Kennedy and Ian McBurrough to anchor the defense. Both were named to the preseason All-MEAC first team and the Black College Hall of Fame Player of the Year watchlist.