North Carolina Central Announces 2013 Football Schedule
DURHAM, N.C. - Coming off its first winning season since 2007, the North Carolina Central University football program will face "a very challenging and competitive schedule" in 2013, according to NCCU head coach Henry Frazier III.
NCCU will reunite with crosstown foe Duke to open the season with the "Bull City Gridiron Classic," then play two non-conference opponents for the first time (Charlotte and Towson), and will meet two fellow Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams for the first time since 1995 (Howard and Norfolk State) as part of the Eagles' eight-game conference slate.
Long distance road trips should not be a factor in 2013. NCCU's total driving distance for six road games this season is 2,026 miles, which is less than just the two Florida trips alone last year (2,432 miles).
NCCU opens the 2013 campaign with its shortest road trip, a 5.1-mile jaunt to Duke on Aug. 31. The third all-time meeting between the two Durham gridiron programs is billed as the "Bull City Gridiron Classic." The Blue Devils won the prior two meetings, including a 54-17 victory last season inside Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke is coming off a 6-win season and its first bowl game appearance since 1995.
On Sept. 14, the Eagles travel to the Queen City to face the Charlotte 49ers as part of their first season of football. Charlotte will be competing as an NCAA Division I-FCS independent during the 2013 and 2014 seasons before joining Conference USA in the FBS ranks in 2015.
On Sept. 21, NCCU welcomes Towson to O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium for the first of five home games, all starting at 2:00 p.m. The Tigers were co-champions of the highly-competitive Colonial Athletic Association a year ago with a 6-2 conference record and a 7-4 mark. In 2011, Towson won the CAA title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs, finishing with a 9-3 overall record. This will be the first gridiron meeting between the Eagles and the Tigers.
NCCU kicks off its stretch of eight consecutive MEAC contests on Oct. 5 at Howard in Washington, D.C. The last time these two teams played was on Sept. 16, 1995, when the Eagles beat the Bison 37-32 in the nation's capital. NCCU leads the series with Howard, 10-6-1. Last season, the Bison finished with records of 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the league.
The Eagles return to their nest on Oct. 12 versus South Carolina State. NCCU beat the Bulldogs 40-10 in the 2012 "Circle City Classic" in Indianapolis to snap a seven-game losing skid against SCSU, which still holds a slim 11-9 edge in the series.
On Oct. 19, NCCU hosts Morgan State as part of the university's homecoming festivities. The Eagles spoiled MSU's homecoming last season with a game-winning, fourth-down touchdown in the closing seconds. The Bears lead the series 22-13-2.
NCCU's longest journey of the season (714 miles round trip) is a return to Savannah, Ga., to face the Tigers of Savannah State on Oct. 26. The Eagles won last year's contest in Savannah by a score of 45-33 to take a 5-2-1 series lead.
A highly-anticipated match-up between the Eagles and Bethune-Cookman, the reigning MEAC champion, will take place on Nov. 2 in Durham, N.C. The Wildcats were unbeaten in conference play in 2012, ending the season in the NCAA playoffs with a 9-3 overall record. B-CU's 42-17 win over the Eagles last year in Daytona Beach gave the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage in the series.
The Eagles hit the road again to square off against the Hampton Pirates on Nov. 9. NCCU defeated Hampton 37-20 last season in front of a Thursday night ESPNU national television audience. Hampton leads the series 17-6.
NCCU's final home game on the slate features Norfolk State on Nov. 16, as the Spartans make their first visit to O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium since 1993. Norfolk State, the 2011 MEAC champions, won the last meeting with the Eagles 27-6 in 1995 to even the series at 5-5.
The Eagles close out the regular season on the road with the 85th meeting against rival North Carolina A&T on Nov. 23. Last year's match-up in front of a sellout crowd at O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium, ended in overtime for the fourth time in the past 16 contests between the in-state rivals, with the Aggies improving their series lead to 48-31-5.
NCCU will hold its spring football game on Friday, April 12 at 6 p.m. inside O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
Details about NCCU football season tickets will be announced next week.
For more information about NCCU football, visit www.NCCUEaglePride.com.