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One-year ASUN-WAC Challenge partnership with give Eastern Kentucky a shot at FCS Championship

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

The Atlantic Sun Conference has formed an alliance with the Western Athletic Conference, giving both leagues a path to the FCS playoffs this fall.

The partnership, known as the ASUN-WAC Challenge, will feature Eastern Kentucky University, Central Arkansas and Jacksonville State, along with Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin. Kennesaw State and North Alabama of the ASUN will compete in the Big South Conference next season.

Eastern Kentucky football coach Walt Wells discusses the Colonels’ move to the Atlantic Sun Conference last month during a press conference at McBrayer Arena. (Photo by Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today)

The seven schools will play a single round-robin, with each institution having three home contests and three road contests. The team with the highest winning percentage shall receive the automatic qualification to the FCS Playoffs.

“We are confident that we are running to something, to build something, to be a part of something that we are very proud of,” Eastern President David McFadden said.

The Colonels unveiled their upcoming schedule on Tuesday. Eastern will play six home games and four contests against first-time opponents. The Colonels will compete against Tarleton State, Abilene Christian, Lamar and Sam Houston State for the first time.

Eastern will open up the season on the road at Western Carolina on Sept. 4, followed by a contest against Louisville on Sept. 11.

The Colonels will then play four straight home games, starting with Indiana State on Sept. 18, followed by former Ohio Valley Conference foe Austin Peay State on Sept. 25. The Colonels also will host Tarleton State on Oct. 2, followed by Abilene Christian on Oct. 9.

Eastern also will host Lamar (Oct. 30) and Jacksonville State on Nov. 20.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21

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