The odds are not in Jackson State’s favor of having fun in Las Vegas.
The Tigers face UNLV at 9 p.m. Thursday in the season opener for both teams.
Jackson State, under first-year coach Tony Hughes, has never beaten an FBS school in its 12 previous tries. The Tigers are also 0-2 against teams in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels beat Jackson State 39-2 in 1975 in their previous meeting.
“We’ve prepared for this moment,” Hughes said in a SWAC teleconference call. “It’s not like this just snuck up on us and, ‘Oh, wow, we have to fly out to Las Vegas.’ I think our guys will be ready to play.”
Quarterback LaMontiez Ivy leads a high-powered Tigers offense with a deep receiving corps.
Mississippi Valley State at Eastern Michigan, 5 p.m. Friday: The Delta Devils face a tough obstacle in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at Rynearson Stadium, also known as “The Factory.”
This is the first meeting between EMU and the Delta Devils. EMU is facing its second SWAC opponent, beating Alabama State 14-7 in 2011.
Belhaven at Millsaps, 6 p.m. Thursday: The crosstown rivals meet in their annual Riverside Rumble contest at Millsaps’ Harper Davis Field.
The game was moved because of construction delays at Belhaven’s field. The Majors won 52-23 last year in a series tied at 3-3.
Former St. Stanislaus kicker Patrick McRaney plays for the Majors. Quarterback Clayton Webb is back for the Blazers.
Kentucky-Wesleyan at Delta State, 6 p.m. Thursday: Quarterback Tyler Sullivan begins his senior season with the Statesmen as a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate.
Despite missing several games with injuries, he ranks third on the school’s passing list.
Delta State won its only meeting against the Panthers last year, winning 51-18.
Alcorn State vs. Bethune-Cookman, noon, Sunday: The Braves face Bethune-Cookman in the annual SWAC/MEAC Challenge at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Florida.
ESPN will televise the Battle by the Beach.
Fred McNair will make his coaching debut for the Braves, who are favored to win a third straight SWAC championship.
Point University at Mississippi College, 2 p.m. Saturday: The Choctaws officially return to the Gulf South Conference and Division II.
MC was in the GSC from 1972 until 1996.
The Choctaws will be counting on several junior college transfers, including defensive back Alex Feazelle, formerly of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Point University is a West Point, Georgia, school and the team is known as the Skyhawks.