South Carolina State vs North Carolina Central ESPNU Thursday Night Football

The conference schedule kicks into high gear this weekend as every team is in action. The first of three consecutive MEAC weeknight football games begins on Thursday night as it headlines a six-game conference slate. The lone non-conference contest of the weekend features Hampton hosting Monmouth.

  • The MEAC has picked up two FBS wins this season as North Carolina A&T State defeated Charlotte (Conference USA) on Sept. 16. Howard also picked up an FBS win as they defeated UNLV on Sept. 2. The wins mark the second straight year the conference has earned an FBS win. Last year’s North Carolina A&T State’s win over Kent State on Sept. 10, 2016 was the Aggies’ first FBS win in school history and the first MEAC FBS win since Bethune-Cookman defeated C-USA’s Florida International 14-12 in 2014.
  • A quartet of games which match conference foes for the first time since 2014 takes place this week. The SC State-NCCU, Norfolk State-Delaware State, Bethune-Cookman-Howard and North Carolina A&T State-Morgan State contests are back on the schedule after a two-year hiatus due to the MEAC’s unbalanced schedule.
  • North Carolina A&T State is the only MEAC team with an undefeated mark while Hampton is the only other MEAC team that has a winning record. While its early, the Aggies will possibly have to deal the pressure of chasing history as only two teams in NCAT history have finished undefeated (1927, 1943).
  • Starting this Thursday, Sept. 21, the first ESPNU Thursday night contest of the season occurs with South Carolina State traveling to North Carolina Central. North Carolina Central travels to Florida A&M on Sept. 28followed by a Fridaynight contest featuring Morgan State at SC State on Oct. 6. Once the weeknight games commence, the schedule shifts to Saturdays for two additional weekends as MEAC ESPNU games will take place on Oct. 14 (Hampton/Norfolk State) and Oct. 21 (North Carolina A&T State/Bethune-Cookman). The schedule picks back up at the end of the year with a pair of games (MEAC Wildcard/Florida Classic) on Nov. 18.
  • The MEAC is coming off a successful 2016 campaign as the league produced a pair of postseason participants in North Carolina A&T State and North Carolina Central. NCAT earned an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs while NCCU was crowned league champion and participated in the second annual Celebration Bowl.
  • North Carolina A&T State is the lone MEAC team ranked at this point of the 2017 season amongst FCS teams. The Aggies are ranked No. 15 in the FCS Coaches poll and No. 21 in the STATS FCS poll.
  • North Carolina Central was picked to defend its MEAC Football Championship as the Eagles topped the league’s annual preseason poll. The Eagles have won three consecutive MEAC Championships as the 2016 title was their first outright title since returning to the MEAC.
  • Howard University running back Anthony Philyawwas selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonardwas selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. A 2016 All-MEAC First teamer, Philyaw was the MEAC’s second-leading rusher last fall with 1,230 yards and nine touchdowns on 222 attempts. Leonard continues South Carolina State’s strong tradition of defensive play as last season’s MEAC Defensive Player of the year honor marked the fourth consecutive season a SC State defender has earned the postseason award.
  • The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced a partnership with the MEAC to reveal the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year as part of the festivities surrounding the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. This marks the second consecutive year the players will be honored in New York.
  • At stake once again for the MEAC Champion is a postseason berth to the 3rd annual Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 16at the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium. North Carolina Central fell to Grambling State 10-9 in 2016. The all-time bowl series featuring the MEAC and SWAC Champions stands at 1-1.

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