Norfolk State releases 2017 football schedule

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Norfolk State football practice

Norfolk State football practice

NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State head football coach Latrell Scott announced his team’s 2017 football schedule on Wednesday, a slate that includes six home games for the first time since 2013 and a road game at defending FCS national champion James Madison.

In addition to four MEAC home games, the Spartans also have home dates with Virginia State in the Labor Day Classic and a return game against in-state foe the College of William & Mary. Those two non-conference games kick off NSU’s 2017 slate. VSU returns to the Spartans’ schedule as the teams renew their Labor Day Classic rivalry at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2. The old CIAA rivals played every Labor Day weekend from 1991-2009, then again from 2011-12. The game will also be Scott’s first against a VSU program which he led from 2013-14, and the 51st meeting all-time between the programs.

The matchup with William & Mary kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. The teams played on Sept. 17 of last season in Williamsburg, with the Tribe coming away with a 35-10 victory. The 2017 meeting is the seventh all-time between the two schools.

NSU concludes its non-conference schedule with the program’s first-ever meeting with James Madison. The game will be played in Harrisonburg on Sept. 16. The Dukes went 14-1 en route to the Division I FCS national championship this past season. Scott served as an assistant coach at JMU in 2012.

“We are excited about our non-conference schedule,” Scott said. “Bringing back our old rival for the Labor Day Classic is a great way for our team and our fans to start the season. Then playing one of the top CAA programs in William & Mary, and the defending national champion in JMU, should be great tests for our team and will prepare us for our conference season.”

Norfolk State football

Norfolk State football

NSU and Delaware State open their respective MEAC schedules on Sept. 23 in Dover. The Hornets return to the Spartans’ schedule this season after two years off in the league’s unbalanced schedule.

After a bye week on Sept. 30, NSU begins October with two consecutive home games. NSU hosts Florida A&M – which also returns to the Spartans’ schedule after two years off – on Oct. 7 at Dick Price Stadium. The following week, the Spartans host Hampton in the Battle of the Bay on Saturday, Oct. 14. Both games kick off at 2 p.m.

The Spartans’ lone road game in October is at MEAC champion North Carolina Central on Oct. 21. That game is actually the only road contest in a five-game span for the Spartans, who host Savannah State for Homecoming on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. and North Carolina A&T on Nov. 4 at  1 p.m. for Senior Day.

NSU concludes the year on the road for the fourth straight season. After finishing the 2016 season with three straight road contests, the Spartans wrap up 2017 with two consecutive road dates – at Howard on Nov. 11, and at Morgan State on Nov. 18.

“The MEAC schedule is always difficult because there are no easy wins,” Scott said. “But we expect our players will be up to the challenge.”