SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Six home games and the first-ever matchup with the University of Maine highlight the 2011 Bryant University football schedule announced Wednesday by head coach Marty Fine.
This will be Bryant's fourth year competing in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision and follows a very successful 2010 season that saw the Bulldogs post a 7-4 record and finish fourth in the Northeast Conference. In just three years competing at the Division level, Bryant is 19-14 overall.
Fine, now entering his eighth season, and the Bulldogs will look to carry last year's success into the fall when the 2011 season kicks off with a trip to Orono, Maine to take on the Black Bears on Saturday, Sept. 3.
Maine, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), was 4-7 in 2010 with wins over Monmouth and the University of Rhode Island. The Maine game will be Bryant's third against a CAA member school, having visited UMass in 2008 and played host to Hofstra in 2009.
Bryant will return to Bulldog Stadium for the home opener Sept. 10, hosting former NE-10 rival American International College. Bryant posted a 6-1 record at home last year and is 22-6 at Bulldog Stadium since 2006. The AIC game will be the final tune-up before the Northeast Conference opener a week later when the Bulldogs travel to Fairfield, Conn. to face Sacred Heart University on Sept. 17. Bryant is 1-2 all-time against the Pioneers following last year's 25-24 victory.
It will be back to Bulldog Stadium for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend on Sept. 24, when Bryant entertains Wagner College. Bryant is a perfect 7-0 in games on Homecoming under Fine.
Bryant will make the first of two trips to the Pittsburgh area in the month of October beginning with a game at Duquesne University on October 1. The Bulldogs will be looking to avenge last year's only loss at home when they face the Dukes. Bryant is 2-1 all-time against Duquesne and own an 8-1 record against the three NEC schools from Pennsylvania.
Following home dates with Stonehill (Oct. 8) and Monmouth (Oct. 15), the Bulldogs make a return trip to Pennsylvania for a matchup against defending conference champion Robert Morris on Oct. 22. Bryant handed the Colonials, ranked 25th nationally, their only conference loss of the season last year, 27-21, and marked the program's first victory over a nationally ranked team since moving to Division I.
The Bulldogs will have a bye weekend (Oct. 29) before embarking on three key conference games in the month of November to close out the regular season. After a trip to Albany on Nov. 5, Bryant returns home to host Saint Francis (PA) on Nov. 12 and Central Connecticut in the season finale on Nov. 19. The Blue Devils went 8-3 a year ago, finishing tied for first in the NEC with Robert Morris with a 7-1 league mark.
The 2011 season will be the final year of the school's four-year transition to Division I. Upon completion, the program will become an official member of the Football Championship Subdivision and the Northeast Conference and become eligible for the postseason playoffs in the fall of 2012.