February 03, 2017

(STATS) - While college football matchups can be scheduled years in advance, some FCS programs have gained an added spotlight in their games against FBS powers.

On Nov. 18, it will shine on The Citadel as the two-time defending Southern Conference champion travels upstate to face FBS national champion Clemson.

Their meeting will mark the eighth time in nine seasons that an FCS program is playing the defending FBS champ.

The Citadel has lost the last 16 meetings with Clemson, so a historic upset appears unlikely. But coach Brent Thompson's team figures to embrace the opportunity to play before a crowd of more than 80,000 in Death Valley.

"Playing FBS teams in general is a great experience for our team, and playing an in-state team means even more for our kids," Thompson said. "A lot of people within our program grew up fans of Clemson and dreamed of playing in Memorial Stadium, and it's huge for us in recruiting to be able to offer them that opportunity. This will be the second time in the last four years we have played the defending national champions. I think the kids enjoy that challenge, but we approach our preparation the same way for every game."

Since 2009, the only year in which the defending FBS champion didn't play an FCS program was 2015. Ohio State doesn't often play subdivision teams, and it didn't after winning the 2014 title under Urban Meyer.

Last season, Chattanooga held a lead on 2015 champ Alabama after the first quarter before falling 31-3.

Prior to 2015, the defending FBS champ played an FCS program in six straight seasons: 2009, Florida beat Charleston Southern 62-3; 2010, Alabama beat Georgia State 63-7; 2011, Auburn beat Samford 35-16; 2012, Alabama beat Western Carolina 49-0; 2013, Alabama beat Chattanooga 49-0; and 2014, Florida State beat The Citadel 37-12.

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