NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State football squad will face three HBCU opponents, along with SEC member Vanderbilt, as part of the non-conference schedule in 2016.
TSU will open the season with the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sat., Sept. 3, in the John Merritt Classic and square off against the Tigers of Jackson State in the Southern Classic in Memphis on Sat., Sept. 10. The schedule continues with a trip to Daytona Beach, Fla., on Sat., Sept. 17, for a tussle with the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman.
The Tigers will receive an off week before the start of Ohio Valley Conference play on Oct. 1. The Big Blue will face three OVC opponents before going head-to-head with the Commodores in a crosstown meeting on Sat., Oct. 22.
TSU will close out the season with four consecutive OVC weekends.
The Tigers own a 2-0 record over Arkansas-Pine Bluff including a 40-13 Homecoming victory in 2012. The two teams first met back in 1923.
The Southern Heritage Classic pits the tradition of TSU and JSU, as the Tigers from Nashville hold a 27-21-2 advantage in the series. TSU claimed a 35-25 win in 2015 to extend its win streak to four games over the Tigers from Jackson, Miss.
The 2016 campaign will see the Tigers and Wildcats battle for the first time since 2013, when B-CU got the better of the Big Blue, 12-9. TSU has claimed six of the eight meetings versus Bethune-Cookman including a 21-14 victory in 2012 on the Wildcats home field.
Vanderbilt and TSU will take the same field for only the second time, despite the close proximity of the two Nashville institutions. The Commodores defeated the Tigers 38-9 in 2006. This will be the first of three consecutive years the Tigers will play an FBS team.