FERRUM — Ferrum College’s football team opens its fifth season of the Rob Grande coaching era against a squad it has not conquered since 2016, his rookie campaign in charge.
The Panthers (3-5 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), 4-6 overall last year) kicks off the 2020 season Saturday, Sept. 5 against Averett University, which has won three straight games in the series.
Game time is 6 p.m. in Danville.
Former Ferrum player, assistant coach, and newly-enshrined member of the college’s Alumni-Sports Hall of Fame Cleive Adams is the Cougars head coach. The 2020 campaign is his seventh at Averett’s helm.
All other Ferrum games, both home and away, are slated for 1 p.m.
Ferrum concludes the non-conference portion of its slate the following week (Sept. 12)against Greensboro (North Carolina) College at W.B. Adams Stadium. The contest is the Panthers home opener, and the Pride has a new head coach (Tyler Card) in charge of its program.
The Panthers’ bye comes in the season’s third week (Sept. 19), followed by eight consecutive ODAC encounters, the first of which is Saturday, Sept. 26 in Ashland against Randolph-Macon College.
Ferrum won in Ashland two years ago, but last year, the Yellow Jackets avenged that loss and claimed their first victory in the series at Adams Stadium.
Washington and Lee University is the Panthers’ first October foe and for the second time in three years, the Generals provide the opposition for homecoming on Oct. 3.
Two years ago, the Generals edged the Panthers 38-35 courtesy of a successful field goal on the last play of the game.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, Ferrum travels to Greensboro to take on Guilford College. Two seasons ago, the Panthers lost to the Quakers by a point, 28-27, in the Tar Heel state, but they avenged that loss this past season on their home turf.
Reigning ODAC champion and NCAA Division III playoff participant Bridgewater College seeks its second straight Adams Stadium victory on Saturday, Oct. 17, the Panthers’ Fan Appreciation Day.
Reduced ticket prices and other special promotions are planned, according to a Ferrum press release announcing the schedule.
Next, Ferrum faces back-to-back road tests: in Buena Vista on Saturday, Oct. 24 against Southern Virginia University and a Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31) day visit to Bridgewater College, the ODAC’s reigning champion and the league’s representative in last year’s Division III playoffs.
Southern Virginia, a football-only member in the ODAC, leaves the conference and its other athletics home, the Capital Athletic Conference for the USA South Athletic Conference following the 2020-21 academic year.
The football series ends too as Grande said in a recent email that Ferrum and Southern Virginia would not be playing as non-conference opponents.
The Panthers have two home dates in November: against Hampden-Sydney College on Saturday, Nov. 7 for Hall of Fame weekend and against Emory & Henry College on Saturday, Nov. 14 for Senior Day in the fifth annual Crooked Road Classic, a series that stands at two games apiece after Panthers wins in 2016 and 2017 and Wasps triumphs in 2018 and 2019.
Ferrum is 23-17 in Grande’s four years at the helm: 6-4 in 2016, 8-2 in 2017, 5-5 in 2018 and 4-6 last fall.
Last fall, the Panthers did not open until the second week of September, then they played 10 consecutive weeks of football.
Ferrum defeat Greensboro (55-7), Guilford (45-23), Southern Virginia (31-28) and Hampden-Sydney (31-14) and lost to Averett (35-12), Randoph-Macon (31-10), Washington and Lee (30-10), Bridgewater (53-10), Shenandoah (49-31) and Emory & Henry (59-36).
2020 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT TIME
9-5 @Averett 6 p.m.
9-12 Greensboro 1 p.m.
9-26 @Randolph-Macon* 1 p.m.
10-3 Washington and Lee*^ 1 p.m.
10-10 @Guilford* 1 p.m.
10-17 Bridgewater*^^ 1 p.m.
10-24 @Southern Virginia* 1 p.m.
10-31 @Shenandoah* 1 p.m.
11-7 Hampden-Sydney*^^^ 1 p.m.
11-14 Emory & Henry*^^^^# 1 p.m.
All home games are played at W.B. Adams Stadium
*Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) game
^Homecoming and Family Weekend
^^Fan Appreciation Day
^^^Hall of Fame Weekend
^^^^Fifth annual Crooked Road Classic