NEWBERRY — Newberry earned the No. 2 seed in Super Region 2, its highest seeding in school history, and will play host to seventh-seeded Tuskegee at 1 p.m. Saturday to begin the 2016 NCAA Division II Football Championship.
The game will mark the first-ever meeting between Newberry and Tuskegee in the Wolves’ 103-year football history. The historically black college, located in Tuskegee, Ala., roughly half an hour outside Montgomery, has won 12 HBCU national championships, had 16 undefeated seasons, and won 30 SIAC championships since their first season of football in 1895.
Newberry will be competing for the Division II Football Championship for the fourth time in its history and third time in the last four seasons. The team also earned playoff bids during the 2006, 2013, and 2015 seasons.
The Wolves, winners of a school-record 10 straight games, are ranked second in the region for the second consecutive week behind only North Alabama.
A win over the Golden Tigers would assure Newberry a second-round home game on Nov. 26 against the winner of third-seeded Florida Tech and No. 6 seed North Greenville. Top seed North Alabama awaits the winner of No. 4 Valdosta State and No. 5 UNC Pembroke.
Newberry became the 16th team in South Atlantic Conference history to win the league with an undefeated mark in conference play with its thrilling come-from-behind win over Wingate on Saturday night that dashed the Bulldogs’ postseason hopes.
The 2016 season marks Newberry’s third conference championship, their first since 2008, and first outright league title since 2006.
Setzler Field will play host to a Division II playoff contest for the second time in its history on Saturday. The Wolves earned the No. 3 seed in the 2006 playoffs and defeated Albany State 34-28 before 5,000 fans in Newberry.
Tuskegee’s playoff chances were in doubt until the final day of the regular season. The Golden Tigers had only nine regular-season games on the schedule, one below the NCAA minimum, and failed to make the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game due to an upset loss to Kentucky State on Homecoming.
When an agreement to play Albany State on the final weekend of the season fell through, Tuskegee scrambled to fill the void. The Golden Tigers were able to schedule a home game against Virginia State.
Although Tuskegee fell 45-35 to the Trojans to finish with an 8-2 record, the boost to their strength of schedule and a 10th overall contest were enough to keep the Golden Tigers in a playoff position in the regional rankings.
Ticket and parking information will be released early this week.