The Southern Virginia University football team has announced its
2009 schedule. The Knights are looking to turn around from a tough
2008 campaign to record the program's second winning season in its
history. This year marks the beginning of a new era for SVU
football as the Knights welcome DeLane Fitzgerald as the new head
coach. Fitzgerald has put together a schedule that he hopes will
both challenge the Knights but also put them in a position to
improve from 2008. "We have some great recruits coming in, and they
will help the program grow and be successful," said Fitzgerald.
"We'll need them to step in and contribute right away because the
teams we face have improved as well." The schedule for 2009 is
highlighted by two NCAA Division I-AA (FCS) opponents and a return
to the Oyster Bowl.
The Knights will make history by opening their season at home for the first time on Aug. 29 when they welcome NCAA Division II opponent Concord University. Concord also has a new head coach this season, so both teams will be fighting for the first win for their respective new coaches. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
The following week Southern Virginia travels to play at NCAA Division I-AA Morehead State University. This will be the second meeting between the teams, as SVU travelled to Morehead last year. The Knights stayed with the Eagles for a time, but were eventually overwhelmed by the FCS school, falling 49-6. The game will be a tough challenge for SVU, but Fitzgerald hopes to be competitive, and hopes that the game will provide the team with the experience and skills necessary to put together a successful 2009 season.
On Sept. 12 the Knights will travel to play at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. The Knights beat the Lions last year 55-25 in the first meeting between the two teams. In their second season of full competition, however, Lincoln has put together a great recruiting class and will be an improved team in 2009. The game is expected to be closer this year than last, and the Knights will not be able to look past this game.
The following week SVU will travel to Brevard, North Carolina to take on Brevard College. This also will be a first time meeting for the teams. Brevard, an NCAA Division II team, is another team that will have improved from 2008. They are a well coached and fundamentally sound team, and the Fitzgerald expects that the Knights will need to put together a complete game.
The Knights will then face a familiar foe in Ferrum College on the Sept. 26. SVU has yet to beat the Panthers as they have gone 0-2 in the first two meetings of the school. Ferrum, who missed the playoff last year by one game, should be a talented this season. SVU will need to find a way to stop Ferrum's run, as they possess a lethal ground game.
On Oct. 2 the team will travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on Guilford College. Guilford will be looking to find a replacement for Josh Vogelbach, who was the NCAA Division III leader in passing yardage and completions last season. SVU has yet to record a win against Guilford as they were beaten last year 47-31.
The Knights will have a bye the following week, and then will welcome George Mason for homecoming weekend. The Knights did not play the Patriot's last year, but played them in 2007, winning 41-9. The homecoming game will be part of the weekend activities that include an alumni golf tournament among other things to do for those returning to visit SVU.
On the Oct. 24, the Knights will play their second NCAA Division I-AA team of the season when they travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. to play Gardner-Webb University. "This will be great exposure for the team and the university," said Fitzgerald. "Gardner-Webb has had a lot of success in the Big South Conference where they play teams like VMI and Liberty. We're excited to go down there and give them our best game."
The team will then return home to take on Radford on Senior Day. SVU will honor the accomplishments and success of one of the best senior classes that the Knights have had in the short history of the program.
On Nov. 7, Southern Virginia will travel to play at Webber International University. SVU fell to the Warriors last year in a thrilling game that ended at 23-15. Both teams anticipate improved rosters, and the fans can expect a great game between two NAIA opponents.
The season for the Knights will wrap up on Oct. 14, when SVU travels to Newport News, Va. to take part in the annual Oyster Bowl. The opponent will be annual rival The Apprentice School Shipbuilders. SVU has not beaten the Builders since the two began playing each other, and have suffered some tough defeats recently. "It's always great to end the season with a rivalry game," said Fitzgerald. "We know that they will give us their best game, and we will look to match it, and hopefully get a win to end the season."
This will be the seventh season for the Knights. "I think that this season will be the right mix for us," said Fitzgerald. "We think that our recruiting class will be one of our best, and we think that this talent will allow us to be successful, and play well against all of the teams on our schedule."