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ASU NOTEBOOK: Rams football secures fourth home game, will host Tuskegee on Sept. 14; Lady Rams softball star Jones honored nationally

Albany State softball star Vanesaa Jones has been nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

Albany State softball star Vanesaa Jones has been nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

2013 ASU football schedule (updated)

Date Opponent/time

Sept. 7 @ N. Greenville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Tuskegee, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 Elizabeth City, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 @ Miles, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 5 Bye

Oct. 12 @ Lane, 2 p.m.*

Oct. 19 Morehouse, 2 p.m.*

Oct. 26 @ Clark Atlanta,2 p.m.*

Nov. 2 Benedict, 7 p.m.*

Nov. 9 vs. Fort Valley St., 2 p.m.*

  • denotes conference game

Game to be played in Columbus

ALBANY — Albany State’s difficult early season football schedule got a little bit easier Wednesday.

The school announced that the Rams’ Sept. 14 game against Tuskegee will now be played in Albany, giving ASU a fourth home game and ending speculation that the matchup would be played in either Alabama or at a neutral location.

The game, which is the second week of the season, was originally supposed to be played in Atlanta as part of the Inner City Classic, but the cancellation of the Classic left the teams without a venue.

ASU coach Mike White was relieved to find out Tuskegee — the reigning conference champs — would be making the trip to Albany for the conference showdown.

“Starting off the way we are this year with new personnel and going on the road first, it’s nice having two of the first three games at home,” White said. “And playing a team as good as Tuskegee, you are always glad to be at home for that.”

The Rams, who are still trying to fill the vacant offensive coordinator position and sign a quarterback, open the season Sept. 7 at North Greenville (S.C.) before hosting Tuskegee and Elizabeth City in back-to-back weeks. ASU will wrap up its difficult four-game stretch with a Sept. 28 matchup at Miles, the 2011 conference champs.

It’s an opening month that might include ASU’s four toughest games of the season, but the addition of one more home game seemed to alleviate some of the pressure.

“(ASU and Tuskegee) are two teams that will battle it out, and for a while it decided who won the conference,” White said. “Now that we are in different divisions it’s a little different, but we would still rather play them at home than on the road.”

The two teams last met in 2010 when ASU beat Tuskegee, 34-6, in Tuskegee, Ala. The Rams finished 11-1 that season, won the conference and were named Black College National Champions. The Golden Tigers finished 9-2.

BAINBIRDGE’S JONES NOMINATED FOR NCAA WOMAN OF YEAR: Albany State softball player Vanessa Jones, a Bainbridge native, has been nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

“I am very blessed to be recognized as a nominee and to have a chance to represent Albany State,” Jones said. “To have the opportunity to be named NCAA Woman of the Year is a tremendous honor, and its’ one that makes my family and me are very proud.”

A former shortstop for ASU, Jones led the Lady Rams to the 2013 conference championship. During the NCAA tournament, she led the Lady Rams to the program’s first tournament victory in school history.

“Vanessa has been a big part of our softball program over the last four years,” ASU softball coach Robert Skinner said. “She’s a good student and a great leader who has team-first mentality. She has been a model student-athlete at our university, and it has been a pleasure to coach her for four years.”

Jones received the 2013 RAM Award, which is presented to the student-athlete who exhibits school spirit, dedication, leadership and service to the community. She also received the Team Captain and the Academic Achievement Awards.

A total of 455 female student-athletes were nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Of those nominees, 214 participated in Division I, 90 participated in Division II and 151 participated in Division III athletics.