Florence, Ala. - On the heels of winning a Gulf South Conference Championship and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Playoffs last season, the University of North Alabama has released its 2014 football schedule that includes two renewed series and a first-time opponent.
UNA will open the season on the road, which will be the Lions' sixth road game in their last eight contests. But the schedule includes five home dates at Braly Stadium, including three straight home games early in the season. UNA will play four of their final six games of the season on the road.
Seven of the 10 teams on UNA's 2014 schedule had winning records in 2013.
"First of all we are just excited that we have 10 games and have nine Division II games," said UNA Head Football Coach Bobby Wallace. "We learned last year that the number of Division II games plays an important part in seeding in the post-season. But we know every week will be important and It will be a challenging schedule."
Wallace said the team's six GSC games will be particularly tough. "I think the conference, top to bottom, is getting better and as competitive as I can ever remember," Wallace said.
Wallace said he is also pleased that of the Lions five road trips in 2014, two will be flights. "The travel aspect shouldn't wear on us like it did last year," Wallace said of his team's seven combined road trips to Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina in 2013.
The Lions will open the 2014 season on September 13 on the road at Mississippi College, a school that is returning to the Gulf South Conference after an almost 20-year absence. The game will not count as a GSC contest but does count as a Division II game. UNA's last meeting with the Choctaws was in 1995 in a series that is tied at 14-14-1. MC was 4-6 last season as a member of NCAA Division III.
The following week, on Sept. 20, UNA will open its home season hosting Langston University of Oklahoma. UNA and Langston met in 1979 and 1981 with the Lions winning both games in Florence. Langston, a member of the NAIA and the Red River Athletic Conference, posted a 6-4 record last season.
UNA opens Gulf South Conference play on September 27 at home against Valdosta State at 6 p.m. The Lions will then celebrate Homecoming against Western Oregon on the following weekend, October 4, at Braly Stadium. It will be UNA's second game against a team from Oregon. The Lions defeated Portland State 44-32 in Portland in 1993.
The Lions will travel to 2013 playoff opponent North Carolina-Pembroke on October 11 and will follow that trip with another road game in Melbourne, Fla., against Florida Tech on October 18.
UNA returns home for a GSC game against West Georgia on October 25 at 6:00 at Braly Stadium then travels to Cleveland, Miss., on November 1 to play Delta State. The Statesmen handed UNA its only GSC loss last season, 38-35, and finished the season 7-3. The Lions then host their final home game against Shorter on November 8 at 3 p.m. before closing out the regular-season in Livingston against West Alabama on November 15.
Courtesy: UNA Media Relations
DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME
Sept. 13 Sat at Mississippi College Clinton, Miss.
Sept. 20 Sat LANGSTON HOME 6:00
Sept. 27 Sat *VALDOSTA STATE HOME 6:00
Oct. 4 Sat WESTERN OREGON (Homecoming) HOME 6:00
Oct. 11 Sat at North Carolina-Pembroke Pembroke, N.C. 2:00
Oct. 18 Sat *at Florida Tech Melbourne, Fla.
Oct. 25 Sat *WEST GEORGIA HOME 6:00
Nov. 1 Sat *at Delta State Cleveland, Miss.
Nov. 8 Sat *SHORTER (Preview Day) HOME 3:00
Nov. 15 Sat *at West Alabama Livingston, Ala.
Nov. 22 Sat NCAA Divison II Playoffs Round 1 TBA
Nov. 29 Sat NCAA Divison II Playoffs Round 2 TBA
Dec. 6 Sat NCAA Divison II Playoffs Quarterfinals TBA
Dec. 13 Sat NCAA Divison II Playoffs Semifinals TBA
Dec. 20 Sat NCAA Divison II Playoffs Championship Game TBA
All Times Central
* Gulf South Conference game