8:05 a.m., Aug. 27, 2010----The University of Delaware and the University of Pittsburgh have announced that the two Eastern football powers will meet on the gridiron in non-league games during the 2014 and 2019 seasons.
Delaware, a member of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), will take on the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Panthers on Aug. 30, 2014, and on Aug. 31, 2019. Both games will be played at Pittsburgh's 65,050-seat Heinz Field. The two teams will meet for the first time ever in the sport of football.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to play a program that annually ranks among the nation's best,” said Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, whose team defeated FBS Navy in both 2003 and 2007 on the way to berths in the national championship game. “Our schedule is consistently ranked among the toughest at our level of football and playing a team the calibre of Pitt only enhances that. I know that our players and our fans will be excited, as well.”
In addition to playing Pittsburgh, the Blue Hens will also take on another FBS opponent when Delaware again travels to Navy on Sept. 3, 2011, and on Sept. 14, 2013. Both games will be played at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Although UD does not play an FBS opponent this fall, Delaware has moved up a level to play an opponent each of the past three seasons and five times in eight seasons under Keeler. The Blue Hens annually rank among the NCAA leaders in strength of schedule, ranking No. 2 among all FCS schools in 2007 and 2009 and No. 3 in 2008.
Delaware will play all three of its non-league games at home this season, hosting NCAA Division II power West Chester on Sept. 2, 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifier South Dakota State on Sept. 11, and Duquesne on Sept. 18. During the 2011 campaign, the Hens will travel to Navy and host West Chester and Delaware State. In 2012, Delaware will play host to West Chester and Delaware State.
The 2012 game against West Chester will mark the final game in the series with the Rams, which has been played every season since 1968 except for 2001 when the Sept. 11 tragedies forced the game to be canceled. The series was the longest running series in UD football history.
For complete UD athletics news, see BlueHens.com.
Photo by Mark Campbell