September set off
Fred Jeter | 8/31/2023, 6 p.m.
The VSU Trojans, NSU Spartans and HU Pirates will swing into action Sept. 2 for their season openers.
VSU will play at NSU in a 4p.m. resumption (first meeting since 2019) of the “Labor Day Classic” at the Spartans’ Dick Price Stadium.
Hampton will play Grambling in Harrison, N.J., at Red Bull Arena (a pro soccer stadium) in the Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
VSU and NSU are both under the direction of second-year coaches, Henry Frazier III in Ettrick and Dawson Odoms in Norfolk.
Frazier’s first season at VSU was a major success as he rallied the Trojans to six victories, double the total from the previous season..
VSU coach Frazier says his starting quarterback will be either returning senior Jordan Davis or Romelo Williams, a transfer from Central Connecticut State with two seasons eligibility remaining.
“They’ve been 1-A and 1-B in camp,” said Frazier. “It will be a game-time decision who starts at Norfolk, and both are likely to play.”
NSU benefits from a significant advantage in scholarships totals. NSU, under the umbrella of NCAA/FCS, is allowed 63 scholarships.
NCAA Division II VSU is permitted just 36.
The 2022 season didn’t go nearly as well for Coach Odoms at NSU. The Spartans were 2-9 but did finish with a 42-38 win at South Carolina State in the finale.
Hampton, a member of the extremely dif- ficult Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), is hopeful of a bounce-back season under Coach Robert Prunty.
The Pirates started 3-0 a year ago but finished 4-7. HU will be coming to the University of Richmond on Oct. 28 for the Spiders’ homecoming.
Grambling’s second-year coach is Hue Jackson, the former NFL head coach with Oakland and Cleveland. Coach Jackson’s record at Grambling last season was 3-8.
HU holds a 6-2 all-time lead over Grambling in a series dating to 1990. All but the first game (at Grambling) has been on neutral fields.
In the last meeting, in 2006, HU won 27-26 in overtime.
The Tigers have produced more than 100 NFL players, including Hall of Famers Willie Brown, Buck Buchanan, Willie Davis and Charlie Joiner.
Both HU and Grambling boast College Football Hall of Fame coaches Joe Taylor with the Pirates and Eddie Robinson with Grambling.