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Virginia Union University's Department of Athletics has released its 2017 Fall Football Schedule.

The season features five away games along with five home games in Historic Hovey Field in Richmond, Va.vuu panther2014

The Panthers will open 2017 against Long Island University-Post at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, in Brookville, N.Y.

Home games include September 9 against Newberry College, September 16 against Winston-Salem State University, October 16 against Chowan University and Homecoming against Elizabeth City State University on October 28.

Mark James, Head Football Coach at VUU, summed up the 2017 season:

"The 2017 Virginia Union University football team is excited about facing the opportunities that the football schedule offers. After finishing 5-5 last year, we feel we can build off our last season's experience for the upcoming season," James said.

Here is James' game by game analysis on each opponent:

LIU Post: This game offers us a great opportunity for an out-of-conference rematch that went down to the wire last year where we lost by two points at Hovey Field. We are looking forward to going to LIU and being competitive versus their traditional explosive offense. We feel that our experienced defense will have a stout challenge in which we must remain disciplined and focused of their offensive mesh's and heavy TE play.

Newberry: Last year was a combination of the elements of weather and long travel that ended up assisting the wolves of handing us our second loss of the season. Their QB, who is returning, is a proven leader of their offensive attack. We accept the challenge of containing him as the key to success in this game. This will be our first home game of the 2017 season and it would be great to start it with a victory.

Winston-Salem State: Last year we were able to capitalize with a heavy run attack to stifle them early. This team went on and didn't lose a game after our match up. We will need to be focused and play well at home to defeat the 2016 CIAA champs. This was the first time Union has defeated its arch rival in over 14 years.

Fayetteville State: Last years game was a challenge of will as the Broncos refused to go down late in the game. The game was one in which we lost both quarterbacks and had to finish the game with an RB at QB. We showed true grit and put together a tough win on the road. This year as they come to Hovey, we realize that the new HC has done a great job of retooling his team and they will be ready.

Saint Augustine's: Last year we were challenged with containing their running QB. Even though our secondary limited his ability to throw, he rushed for over 150 yards and a couple of scores. This year, we will face the same QB and defense must contain the edges better in order to hold off the SAU attack. Our offense must take advantage of match ups in the secondary and turn average plays into big ones.

Lincoln: Last year's Homecoming was played on a rain-soaked Hovey field which limited both teams in the ability to pass the ball. This year we expect a greater challenge from the Tigers as they have signed a number of talented players that will be impactful immediately for them. As a team on the road, we must use all phases of the game to be successful and continue our four year win streak against LU.

Chowan: The 2016 season had many valleys and lows....this game was definitely disappointing to the Panther family. From the very beginning of the game the Chowan offense scored often to create separation. This year we must protect Hovey field and remember the low of last year's loss and how it affected the remainder of our season.

Bowie State: Since taking over the reins of the program, this has been the matchup that made or broke the season. Last year we remained disciplined throughout the whole game and played effectively through all three phases. It was the first time that Union had beaten BSU in several years. This year we will return to Maryland with the same thought in mind, which is to gain a victory over one of our premier challengers in the CIAA.

Elizabeth City State: After moving to the first place in the CIAA, we faced a hungry team in ECSU. This game ended our hopes of making it to the CIAA championship game. We are excited about the opportunity to play them at home and even the score after losing last year's game in the final minutes.

Virginia State: There is probably no other rivalry in D2 HBCU FOOTBALL that is more coveted than this game. Last year we allowed the game to slip away from us with costly mistakes that trickled down to a loss. We will face the challenge of the Trojans and be ready in Petersburg when we meet this year.

DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME
Sept. 2 at LIU-Post Brookville, NY 1:00 p.m.
SEPT. 9 NEWBERRY HOVEY FIELD 4:00 p.m. (Faculty & Staff Appreciation)
SEPT. 16 WINSTON-SALEM STATE HOVEY FIELD 6:00 P.M.
SEPT. 23 FAYETTEVILLE STATE* HOVEY FIELD 1:00 P.M. (Community Youth Bowl/HOF Weekend)
Sept. 30 at Saint Augustine's* Raleigh, NC TBA
OCT. 7 at Lincoln (PA)* Lincoln University, PA TBA
OCT. 16 CHOWAN* HOVEY FIELD 1:00 P.M. (Veteran Appreciation)
Oct. 21 at Bowie State* Bowie, MD TBA
OCT. 28 ELIZABETH CITY STATE* HOVEY FIELD 1:00 P.M. (Homecoming/Senior Day)
Nov. 4 at Virginia State* Petersburg, VA TBA
NOV. 11 CIAA CHAMPIONSHIP TBA TBA

* = CIAA GAME