By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Heading into his first season as head coach of the Southern Virginia University football program, Tyler Hughes announced the 2014 football schedule Tuesday morning in Buena Vista, Va.
The 2014 slate includes a home-and-home return game with 2013 opponent Methodist, a neutral site matchup with Guilford College, a road game at national power Wesley College and the program's first season as a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The Knights will face four NJAC opponents at home and three on the road.
"It's a very exciting schedule to play and a huge challenge for our program," Hughes said. "Our opponents have had great success at this level. We must not only be ready, but truly embrace the responsibility of being prepared for this level of competition every week."
The Knights start the season Sept. 6 in Fayetteville, N.C., looking to avenge a 2013 loss to Methodist, which defeated Southern Virginia by a 33-20 score in Buena Vista to open the season. After a quick bye, the Knights begin their home slate hosting Guilford College on a neutral site at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va., on Sept. 20.
Southern Virginia continues play on the road Sept. 27 at Wesley College, a program consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the NCAA Division III.
NJAC play then begins with an away game at Kean University in Union, N.J., on Oct. 4.
"We are thrilled to be a member of the NJAC," Hughes said. "The conference is one of the top leagues in the country and it's a privilege to be a part of it. Our coaches and players must be ready to rise to the challenge."
Rowan won the NJAC last season with a 9-3 overall mark and 6-1 league record, finishing the year ranked No. 25 nationally by the American Football Coaches Association. The Knights visit Rowan in Glassboro, N.J., on Nov. 1.
Cortland State placed third in the NJAC in 2013 with a 5-2 league mark and 6-5 overall record. Southern Virginia will face the Red Dragons in Cortland, N.Y., on Oct. 18.
Toward the end of the season, the Knights host The College of New Jersey on Nov. 8, a re-match from 2013 in which Southern Virginia lost in a defensive battle, 7-2, in Ewing, N.J. last September. TCNJ finished 2013 with a 4-3 conference record and 5-5 overall.
Southern Virginia closes the 2014 campaign Nov. 15 at home against William Paterson University.
Sat., Sept. 6 ... at Methodist (Fayetteville, N.C.) ... 1 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 20 ... vs. Guilford (Salem, Va.)# ... 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 27 ... at Wesley (Dover, Del.) ... 1 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 4 ... at Kean (Union, N.J.)* ... 12 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 11 ... Montclair State (Buena Vista, Va.)*+ ... TBA
Sat., Oct. 18 ... at Cortland State (Cortland, N.Y.)* ... TBA
Sat., Oct. 25 ... Morrisville State (Morrisville, N.J.) ... TBA
Sat., Nov. 1 ... at Rowan (Glassboro, N.J.)* ... 1 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 8 ... The College of New Jersey (Buena Vista, Va.)* ... TBA
Sat., Nov. 15 ... William Paterson (Buena Vista, Va.)* ... TBA
# - indicates neutral site (Salem Stadium - Salem, Va.)
* - indicates New Jersey Athletic Conference game
+ - indicates Homecoming