NORFOLK, Va. – Five home games, the return of the Labor Day Classic and eight games played within the Commonwealth of Virginia highlight the 2016 Norfolk State University football schedule, which was announced Wednesday by head coach Latrell Scott.
After having just four home games last season, the Spartans play five of their 11 games in the confines of William “Dick” Price Stadium in 2016. The schedule kicks off at home with the return of the Labor Day Classic on Saturday, Sept. 3 against Elizabeth City State at 6 p.m.
The Labor Day Classic, traditionally played against NSU’s former Division II rival Virginia State, was last played in 2012. This year, another old Spartan rival, ECSU, returns to the schedule for the first time since 1996, NSU’s last year competing at the Division II level. The Spartans have played ECSU 55 times, more than any other opponent in Spartan history. VSU is NSU’s Labor Day opponent in 2017 and 2018.
“I’m excited about the return of the Labor Day Classic,” Scott said. “This game has a great tradition of rivalries and big crowds and we’re looking forward to bringing an old rival back onto our schedule. It should be a great way to start the season at Dick Price Stadium.”
Following the Labor Day Classic, the Spartans play consecutive road games against two of last year’s three co-CAA championship teams. NSU visits the University of Richmond on Sept. 10 for the first-ever meeting between the teams. Richmond advanced to the FCS semifinals last year, finishing 10-4. Scott was formerly the head coach at UR in 2010.
The following week, NSU again heads west on Interstate 64 to face William & Mary on Sept. 17 in Williamsburg. The Tribe also tied for first in the CAA last year and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs, finishing 9-4. NSU and William & Mary last met in 2014, a game the Tribe won 29-14. This will be the schools’ fourth meeting since 2008.
“Playing two quality top-25 programs in Richmond and William & Mary back-to-back will be a huge challenge, but a huge opportunity for our program,” Scott said. “I like that we have two successful in-state programs on our schedule because our fans can travel easily to the games, and the competition will prepare us for our conference schedule.”
The William & Mary game caps NSU’s non-conference slate in 2016. The MEAC schedule begins with back-to-back home games with North Carolina Central (Sept. 24, 4 p.m.) and Howard (Oct. 1, 2 p.m.). After five games in Virginia, NSU finally leaves the state for the first time on Oct. 8 for a road game at MEAC co-champion North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.
Following a bye week on Oct. 15, NSU has consecutive home games with Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 22, 2 p.m.) and Morgan State (Oct. 29 for Homecoming, 2 p.m.) before finishing the season with three straight road games: at Savannah State (Nov. 5), at South Carolina State (Nov. 12) and at Hampton in the Battle of the Bay in the regular-season finale (Nov. 19).
This year marks just the second time, and first since 1996, that NSU and Hampton will meet in the regular-season finale. The Battle of the Bay has been played in October in recent years.
Said Scott: “This is a strong schedule for our team and a travel-friendly one for our fans. Our players are looking forward to the challenges that await us in 2016.”
Originally posted on NSUSpartans.com.