North Carolina Central releases 2024 Football schedule

DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University, winners of 19 games over the past two seasons, unveiled its 2024 football schedule on Wednesday.

NCCU will once again play an 11-game, regular-season schedule. It features five home games inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, including a home battle against North Carolina A&T State University; a season-opening trip to Florida to play in the Orange Blossom Classic; and the program’s first-ever game against the University of North Carolina.

After ending the season with an FCS national ranking for a second consecutive campaign, NCCU will open the upcoming season in the Orange Blossom Classic over Labor Day weekend. The Eagles will play Alabama State University inside Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, on Sunday, Sept. 1. That HBCU spotlight game will mark the fourth NFL venue NCCU will play in over the past three seasons (Panthers, Falcons, Colts).

NCCU made its first appearance in the FCS playoffs in 2023 with non-conference wins against Elon University and Campbell University helping the Eagles bolster their at-large selection to the postseason. NC Central will play those same two nearby programs once again in 2024.

The Eagles will entertain Elon in their home opener on Sept. 7. NCCU defeated the Phoenix, 34-23, on the road last season for its first win against Elon since transitioning to the NCAA Division I level. NCCU will make the short trek over to Buies Creek to play Campbell on Oct. 5. The Eagles topped the Camels in a dramatic 49-48 overtime thriller last year.

On Sept. 14, NCCU will make the short 12-mile drive to Chapel Hill to play UNC for the first time in program history. The Eagles will take the field inside Kenan Stadium against the Tar Heels to play an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent for the first time since NCCU visited Duke University in 2018.

NCCU will conclude the month of September with a big home showdown against North Carolina A&T State University. The Eagles, who have won the last two meetings, will be hosting the Aggies for the first time since 2018. NCCU defeated N.C. A&T 30-16 in Greensboro last season and 28-13 at the Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte two years ago for recent control of the yearly rivalry.

The Eagles have two consecutive home games in the middle of October.

NCCU will first host Virginia University of Lynchburg on Oct. 12. It will be the second time the Eagles will host the Dragons inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in the past three seasons. NCCU tallied a 59-14 triumph over VUL in that first meeting in 2022.

After a week off, the Eagles will celebrate homecoming and begin Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play on Oct. 26 versus Morgan State University. NC Central has won the last six meetings.

The Eagles have posted a combined 8-2 conference record the last two seasons and they will need to play well on the road in November to contend for another league title as three of their five MEAC clashes are slated away from Durham in 2024 just like when NCCU last won the league title in 2022. NCCU’s league travels will include games at South Carolina State University on Nov. 2, Norfolk State University on Nov. 9 and Delaware State University on Nov. 23. The Eagles defeated the Bulldogs, Spartans and Hornets in 2023.

NCCU has gone undefeated at home over the last two seasons (9-0) and has won its last 11 consecutive games inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

The Eagles will end their strong home slate in 2024 with a marquee showdown against Howard University on Nov. 16. That Senior Day clash will feature two programs that tied for the best record in league play last season at 4-1. The Bison defeated NCCU in 2023, eventually earning a bid to the Celebration Bowl, avenging a similar scenario of NCCU’s late-season win over Howard that helped propel the Eagles to their second bowl appearance and winning the HBCU National Championship in 2022.

The MEAC and SWAC champions will square off in the 2024 Cricket Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in December and the first round of the 2024 FCS playoffs is expected to get started over Thanksgiving weekend.

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