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The Madison Record
Toyota Field will host the longtime football rivals of North Alabama and Jacksonville State on Oct. 15. Tickets for the first collegiate football game ever held in Madison are now on sale. Photo- Jacksonville State Athletics

Tickets On Sale- Toyota Field College Football: North Alabama vs. Jacksonville State

 

MADISON- The 50th meeting of the football teams of North Alabama and Jacksonville State will be a memorable battle as the two football powerhouses will play their 2022 game at Toyota Field in Madison on Oct. 15. Tickets for the highly anticipated contest are now on sale at trashpandasbaseball.com.

Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. for the first collegiate football game to be played in Madison with Toyota Field reconfigured to have a seating capacity of 10,000.

“We look forward to welcoming UNA and JSU to Toyota Field for a top-notch experience that we offer all of our fans every night during baseball season,” said Garrett Fahrmann, General Manager of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. “While this event has some unique characteristics to it, our focus is on keeping the same mindset we have for Trash Pandas games- to create a special fan experience that will want them to come back for another event at Toyota Field.”

The uniqueness of the battle between two longtime rivals is the fact the field will be laid out to run East and West. At Toyota Field, the layout will be first baseline to left field fence. Due to space limitations at the end of each endzone, the game will be a “one-directional” contest, which means all offensive plays for both teams will be run to the west end zone (first base side). The east end of the field can still be used on defensive touchdowns and punt returns, as well as, defensive safeties. The move to the one-directional game required an NCAA waiver before the contest could be approved. In addition, both teams will have their full contingent of band members in attendance, which will surely add a traditional college football feel to the special Toyota Field environment.

Food and beverage options will be available throughout the ballpark, which features a 360-degree concourse so that fans can always have an eye on the game. The matchup will be presented by MartinFed, one of the nation’s leading federal contractors headquartered in Huntsville. “MartinFed is proud to be the presenting sponsor of a great event that showcases such amazing teams and organizations. Investing in our communities is part of our corporate culture and we couldn’t be more excited for this event,” said Matthew Schmitz, a UNA Alumnus and Chief Growth Officer for MartinFed.

North Alabama and Jacksonville State first played on the gridiron in 1949. The two teams played every year through the 1992 season and have played five teams since JSU’s move the FCS. Last season, Jax State squeezed out a 27-24 victory over the Lions. The Gamecocks own an overall 28-18-3 edge in the series and won 11 out of the last 12 meetings. The two in-state football programs had some of its most memorable games in the 1980’s with both teams playing at a high level of competition and drew capacity crowds at both school locations.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools as members of the ASUN Conference as the 2022 season marks North Alabama’s first ride as a full Div. 1 member where the Lions can compete for both the ASUN Championship and a NCAA FCS Playoff bid.

“I’m a guy that likes change sometimes and doing different things,” said UNA head coach Chris Willis. “That’s the kind of what we’re about right now while going through this transition to Div. 1. I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s a neutral site and not an advantage to either team.”

The pre-season roster for North Alabama features five players from the local Madison high schools: Montrell Campbell (Madison Academy), DB, 6-0, 172, Sr.; Keenan Hill (James Clemens), DB, 6-0, 180, Fr.; Slate Rucker (Madison Academy), WR, 6-0, 160, R-Fr.; Edgerrin Watson (James Clemens), OL, 6-3, 290, Fr.; Kaden Young (Madison Academy) OL, 6-4, 290, Fr.

Jacksonville State has two local players on its pre-season roster: Zack Cangelosi (Sparkman), OL, 6-3, 300, R-Sr.; Jaleel Birdsong (Sparkman), LB, 6-2, 220, Fr.

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