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SWAC’s Southern University Will Meet MEAC’s Delaware State in Sixth Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge
The 2010 MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney will pit the Delaware State Hornets from the MEAC against the Southern University Jaguars from the SWAC on Sunday, Sept. 5. The yearly event, which features teams from two prominent Historically Black College/University leagues, will return to Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. The matchup will be aired on an ESPN network, which will be announced, along with kickoff time, at a later date.
The sixth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge will be the first meeting in nearly 25 years for Southern and Delaware State. However, Southern returns to the event for the second time, while 2010 will be Delaware State’s first appearance. In 2007, Southern defeated Florida A&M 33-27 at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
Each year, the game pits a MEAC team against a SWAC member at a neutral site located within the footprint of one of the conferences. Several ancillary events will take place around the game, highlighted by a high school career panel, the Disney Step Classic and the Halftime Battle of the Bands.
“We are excited about the sixth year of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge,” said Nikki Godfrey, executive director, MEAC/SWAC Challenge. “We look forward to continuing to build on traditions while providing a stellar experience for the student-athletes and fans alike.
“We are proud to provide a platform on national television to highlight the HBCU experience through this event. The combination of a wonderful destination in Orlando, the magic of the Disney experience and the pageantry of HBCU football make this event an amazing one.”
Said Eugene Campbell, vice president, community relations & minority business development for Walt Disney World Resort: “As a presenting sponsor, Disney is proud to celebrate this annual football classic that highlights student athletes from two HBCUs. We look forward to welcoming fans of all ages to Central Florida for a holiday weekend of festivities that includes a top-notch bowl experience along with magical, immersive entertainment experiences at Disney theme parks.”
At Delaware State, the Hornets finished 2009-10 with a 4-6 record overall.
“It’s an honor for Delaware State to participate in the 2010 MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, Fla.,” said Delaware State head coach Al Lavan, entering his seventh season with the Hornets. “At the same time, it will be a tremendous challenge to open the season against an outstanding Southern University program. ESPN’s telecast of the game also provides a great opportunity to showcase our team and university. I’m sure this will be an unforgettable experience for the Hornets and the entire Delaware State University family.”
Southern is coming off a 6-5 season overall and enter the 2010 season with a new head coach: former NFL coach Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell.
“On behalf of Southern University, I would like to say we are honored to be playing in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge,” Mitchell said. “We look forward to the matchup against Coach Lavan and Delaware State University. They will be a formidable opponent.
“I have known Coach Lavan for a number of years, and I know he will have his team ready and prepared. Coach Lavan coached in the NFL for a number of years and coached players like Tony Dorsett, Roger Craig, Priest Holmes, Tom Rathman and many others. We look forward to the game and would like to thank ESPN for all that they are doing to make this an exciting weekend with a great game to cap it all off.”
The inaugural MEAC/SWAC Challenge in 2005 showcased the MEAC’s South Carolina State vs. Alabama State of the SWAC, with South Carolina State prevailing, 27-14. In 2006, the contest went into overtime with the MEAC’s Hampton University defeating the SWAC’s Grambling State, 27-26.
In 2008, the event moved from Birmingham’s Legion Field to Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, where the MEAC reclaimed the MEAC/SWAC Challenge crown, as Hampton defeated Jackson State 17-13. South Carolina State earned bragging rights in 2009, beating the SWAC’s Grambling State 34-31 in the closing minutes of an exciting contest. Southern’s win in 2007 gave the SWAC its first MEAC/SWAC Challenge trophy. The MEAC leads the series 4-1.
“We are pleased with our association with ESPN and their commitment to promoting the MEAC/SWAC Challenge,” MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas said. “This premier event is more than a football game and offers a unique opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and fans to participate in a first-class bowl-like football game experience.
“I would also like to commend Disney and the City of Orlando for serving as host and embracing this great event. Each year this game provides a great opportunity for the MEAC and the SWAC to further market and gain additional visibility for each conference and our member institutions.”
Said SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp: “Each year the MEAC/SWAC Challenge has been one of the signature games of the college football season. A look back at the history of this series reflects great matchups and exciting contests, including the last four being decided by a touchdown or less.
“This year should be no different. Southern is one of the most well-known programs in all of HBCU football, and with the enthusiasm surrounding new head coach Stump Mitchell and the Jaguars, the tradition of great games is certain to continue.”
By ESPN MediaZone