(STATS) - Tennessee State has set a competitive 2016 schedule, although the opponent it will miss in Ohio Valley Conference play is FCS runner-up Jacksonville State.
Coach Rod Reed's Tigers will try to rebound from a 4-6 season last year.
They will open the season with two "classic" games against SWAC members, hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 18th annual John Merritt Classic on Sept. 3 at Nissan Stadium before going to Memphis to take on Jackson State in the 27th Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 10 at the Liberty Bowl.
The Tigers also will visit MEAC member Bethune-Cookman (Sept. 17) and SEC member Vanderbilt (Oct. 22) in non-conference action.
To play the four games out of conference, Tennessee State will play only seven OVC games, missing Jacksonville State, which has gone unbeaten in conference action the last two years.
Within the OVC, the Tigers will host UT Martin (Oct. 1), Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 15, Homecoming) and Tennessee Tech (Nov. 12). Their road conference games will be at Eastern Illinois (Oct. 8), Murray State (Oct. 29), Austin Peay (Nov. 5) and Southeast Missouri State (Nov. 19).
2016 Tennessee State Football Schedule
Sept. 3, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Sept. 10, Jackson State (at Memphis)
Sept. 17, at Bethune-Cookman
Oct. 1, UT Martin*
Oct. 8, at Eastern Illinois*
Oct. 15, Eastern Kentucky* (Homecoming)
Oct. 22, at Vanderbilt
Oct. 29, at Murray State*
Nov. 5, at Austin Peay*
Nov. 12, Tennessee Tech*
Nov. 19, at Southeast Missouri State*
* - Ohio Valley Conference game