Montgomery, Ala. - Youngstown State will play Samford to 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.