ALBANY — A Labor Day weekend trip to Miami and four strong home games at Albany State Coliseum highlight the 2020 Albany State University football schedule that was announced by the university Monday.

The Golden Rams will open the season in Miami Gardens at Hard Rock Stadium against the Florida A&M Rattlers on Sunday, Sept. 6, in the Orange Blossom Classic. The Rattlers finished 9-2 last season and were considered the HBCU national champions.

“We put together a challenging schedule for 2020. We tell our recruits they will have the opportunity to play in a tough conference and they will have the chance to play quality opponents outside of the SIAC. This schedule makes good on that promise,” Golden Rams head football coach Gabe Giardina said.

After the trip to Miami, the Golden Rams will play three consecutive home games in the September heat of southwest Georgia. Last season the Rams considered the heat an advantage because other teams do not practice in the heat in Albany like the Golden Rams.

The first opponent to come to Albany will be the Mississippi College Choctaws who used 24 second-half points to come from behind and beat Albany State 24-17 last year in Clinton, Miss. The Golden Rams will get their chance for redemption on Sept. 12. The Choctaws finished 5-5 in 2019.

The Valdosta State Blazers will make a return trip to Albany on Sept. 19. The Blazers won the national championship in 2018 and finished with a 10-1 record last year. The Golden Rams hosted the Blazers on opening day in 2019 and saw the Blazers take a 38-3 win in Albany.

Homecoming is set for Sept. 26 when Clark Atlanta University comes to town for the Golden Rams’ first SIAC contest of the season. Last year the Rams went to Atlanta and brought home a 54-19 victory.

After the homecoming match-up, the Golden Rams dig into the all-important SIAC schedule with three straight road games as they look to get back to the SIAC title game again by winning the eastern division of the conference.

The first trip will be to Tuskegee, Ala. where the Golden Rams will take on the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University. The Tigers finished second in the western division last season with a 5-5 record, but lost to the Golden Rams in Albany 21-0. Coach Giardina and the Rams will be working for similar results in Tuskegee.

After the trip to Alabama, the Golden Rams will be visiting Jackson, Tennessee as they head north to face Lane College on Oct. 10. The Rams beat Lane 33-13 for homecoming last year and the Dragons finished with a 4-6 record on the year.

Next the Golden Rams will head east as they will travel to Columbia, SC for a contest with Benedict College. The Golden Rams beat the Tigers in Mud Bowl 2019 7-2 with an 80-yard run by McKinley Habersham. The Tigers won only one game last season and will be looking for a chance to beat the Golden Rams at home.

Golden Ram fans will then get another chance to watch the Rams compete in Albany as the Savannah State University Tigers come to town on Oct. 24. The Tigers beat the Golden Rams 35-19 last season and went through the eastern division without a loss. Because they were transitioning from a Division I school to a Division II school they were not eligible to compete for a conference championship. The completed the season with a 7-3 record.

Albany State will then travel to Atlanta to face the Maroon Tigers of Morehouse College in Atlanta on Oct. 31. The contest highlights the 9th straight year that these two have faced off against each other since 2011 with the Golden Rams boasting a 9-0 record.

To wrap up the regular season, the Golden Rams will face their rival Fort Valley State University at the 31st Annual Fountain City Classic on Saturday, Nov. 7, in Columbus, Georgia. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m. The Golden Rams secured their season finale victory 42-6 over the Wildcats last season. The Wildcats finished the season with a 6-4 record overall, and a 4-2 record in the SIAC.

The 2020 SIAC Championship game will take place Saturday, Nov. 16, on the campus of the western division champion.

Ticket information and more game times will be announced in the coming months.

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