PRESS RELEASE

Samford, Youngstown State to Meet at 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Samford University and Youngstown State University will open the 2019 college football season at the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. The kickoff time will be announced at a later date by ESPN.

The 2019 season will mark the third straight season the FCS Kickoff will be held in Montgomery.  In 2017, Jacksonville State defeated Chattanooga, 27-13. Last year, North Carolina A&T defeated Jacksonville State 20-17.  Samford will be the third straight team from the state of Alabama to participate in the event.

“We are thrilled to be selected for the 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff game and open FCS football nationally,” Samford Director of Athletics Martin Newton said. “This is a great platform for us to showcase Samford, the university’s mission and the quality of our Bulldog football program to a national audience against a quality opponent.”

The FCS Kickoff is in its sixth year overall.  The event began in 2014 when Eastern Washington defeated Sam Houston State 56-35 at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.  In 2015, Montana knocked off defending FCS champion North Dakota State 38-35 at Grizzly Stadium in Missoula.  In 2016, North Dakota State defeated Charleston Southern 24-17 at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D.

“Taking part in the 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff is a special honor and something we are looking forward to next fall,” Youngstown State Director of Athletics Ron Strollo said. “Everyone throughout the country watches the opening game of the season and it will be fun for our program to take center stage nationally along with Samford.”

Samford, who had a narrow loss at Florida State on Sept. 8, has been to the FCS Playoffs each of the last two seasons under head coach Chris Hatcher.  Overall, Samford has made five playoff appearances in school history.

“It is a great honor to be selected to play in next year’s Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff game,” Hatcher said. “We are excited about the opportunity to play such a quality opponent in Montgomery.  It is a great venue that will bring lots of national attention to our team and university.”

Youngstown State is a perennial power at the FCS level. The Penguins have made 14 NCAA Playoff appearances and have won four FCS National Championships.  YSU won national championships in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1997, all under former head coach Jim Tressel, who currently serves as the school’s President. YSU lost in the 2016 FCS National Championship Game to James Madison.

“Our football program is excited to take part in the 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase Youngstown State football on a national stage and we look forward to playing Samford in our 2019 opener at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.”

The 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff will be the fifth all-time meeting between Samford and Youngstown State. YSU has won all four of the previous meetings.

FCS Kickoff All-Time Scores:
Aug. 23, 2014                      (#1) Eastern Washington 56, (#17) Sam Houston State 35 (Cheney, Wash.)
Aug. 29, 2015                      (#13) Montana 38, (#1) North Dakota State 35 (Missoula, Mont.)
Aug. 27, 2016                      (#1) North Dakota State 24, (#7) Charleston Southern 17 (Fargo, N.D.)
Aug. 26, 2017                      (#6) Jacksonville State 27, (#12) Chattanooga 13
Aug. 25, 2018                      (#14) North Carolina A&T 20, (#6) Jacksonville State 17

Samford-Youngstown State All-Time Scores:
Dec. 14, 1991                      Youngstown State 10, Samford 0 (FCS Semifinals; Youngstown, Ohio)
Oct. 23, 1993                       Youngstown State 24, Samford 7 (Youngstown, Ohio)
Nov. 23, 2002                      Youngstown State 37, Samford 29 (Youngstown, Ohio)
Nov. 26, 2013                      Youngstown State 38, Samford 24 (FCS First Round; Youngstown, Ohio)


ESPN Events ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program. Collegiate Football Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau);  MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada);   New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); SERVOPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth);  The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) Collegiate Basketball AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.) Collegiate Softball St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.) For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.