After four weeks where they couldn’t catch a break or catch their breath, the South Carolina State football team will now have a second consecutive Saturday without a game.
The S.C. State home football game with Bethune-Cookman, originally scheduled for this Saturday at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26.
Officials from both schools and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference made the decision based on the threat of Hurricane Matthew, which is projected to impact South Carolina with heavy winds and rain this weekend.
The Bulldogs (1-3 record) are coming off their bye week and haven’t played a game since taking a 48-14 win in their MEAC opener in Tallahassee, Fla. against Florida A&M on Sept. 24. That win came after three straight weeks of road losses against FBS opponents Central Florida, Louisiana Tech and Clemson.
“It’s been kind of a strange deal with us going on the road for four weeks, then getting to our open week and now having another basically open week,” S.C. State head coach Buddy Pough said while announcing the scheduling change at Thursday’s meeting of the Orangeburg Touchdown Club inside The Cinema. “I can announce now that we have moved the Bethune-Cookman game to the back of our schedule.”
If the Bulldogs can keep winning between now and then, the B-C game could decide whether or not S.C. State plays in the Celebration Bowl, which is in its second year as the bowl game pitting the top SWAC team against the top MEAC team each season.
Now the first home game for the Bulldogs will be the Oct. 22 homecoming game against Delaware State.
“I almost want to apologize to our fans for our first home game being so late in the season,” Pough said. “It is what it is, but let’s see if we can make it a positive thing in the end. It will be that if we can win the championship.”
Though Bulldog fans will have waited nearly two months into the season for the first home game, there is an obvious positive spin to the situation. The final three regular season games for S.C. State will be played at home, with the Nov. 12 game with Norfolk State and the Nov. 19 game with Savannah State also set for Orangeburg.
Pough mentioned that the win at FAMU gave him and his coaching staff some confidence going forward in MEAC play.
“It was one of those games where you could see why we’ve got some kind of confidence that we might be OK at our level,” Pough said. “If we continue to improve and continue to play well, we should have a chance to win our league.
“It’s hard to believe we are talking mid-season now, but that’s where we are, despite not playing all the games we should have played by now. The two teams I think are the top two teams in our league are Central and A&T, both North Carolina teams. Both of them are pretty good teams. I've had a chance to watch some game film and see what other teams in our conference look like this season.”
S.C. State will play next on Saturday, Oct. 15 in Washington, D.C. against conference foe Howard. The Bison are currently 1-4, having won a week ago at Norfolk State by a 33-28 score.
Howard (1-2 in MEAC play) is still scheduled to play its first home game of the season this Saturday against non-conference opponent Monmouth.