ASHLAND, Va. - The Randolph-Macon football team will face a pair of NCAA playoff teams in the first month of the upcoming season, as head coach Pedro Arruza released the tentative 2018 schedule.
The Yellow Jackets will open the upcoming campaign on Sept. 1 at Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays went 9-2 this past season, winning at least a share of the Centennial Conference title for the ninth consecutive year. JHU earned an NCAA playoff spot for the seventh straight season, joining Mount Union, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Linfield and Wesley as the only teams to reach the playoffs every year since 2011.
The home opener will be under the lights on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. against Averett. The Cougars were 6-4 overall in 2017 and 5-2 in the USA South. R-MC won 17-13 at Averett this past season.
The Yellow Jackets remain at home on Sept. 15 for a non-conference contest against Catholic. The Cardinals finished 5-5 overall and 3-4 in their first year in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Catholic defeated R-MC 25-20 this past season in Washington, D.C.
Following a bye week, the Yellow Jackets travel to Lexington to kick off conference play at defending ODAC champion Washington and Lee on Sept. 29. The Generals were 8-3 overall and 5-1 in league games. W&L earned the ODAC's automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs and fell 21-0 at eventual national champion Mount Union in the first round. The Generals rallied for a 17-14 win on Day Field this past season.
As part of Family Weekend, R-MC will host Guilford on Oct. 6. The Quakers went 5-5 overall and 3-3 in ODAC play this past season. The Yellow Jackets won 38-22 at GC in 2017.
The Yellow Jackets will travel to Shenandoah on Oct. 13. The Hornets finished 6-4 overall and 3-3 in league play in 2017. R-MC dropped a 51-38 decision to SU this past season on Day Field.
Bridgewater comes to Day Field on Oct. 20 for Homecoming. It will also be Hall of Fame Day. The Eagles were 4-6 overall and 1-5 in conference contests a season ago. The Yellow Jackets won at BC 52-24 in 2017.
The Yellow Jackets will head to Emory & Henry on Oct. 27. The Wasps went 3-7 overall and 1-5 in ODAC games. R-MC outscored E&H 52-29 this past season.
The final home game of the regular season will have R-MC facing Ferrum on Nov. 3 on Senior Day. It will be the first ODAC meeting of the Panthers and the Yellow Jackets. Ferrum is 4-0 all-time against R-MC, in a series that began in 1985 and ended in 1990. The Panthers went 8-2 overall in 2017 and 5-2 in the USA South.
The Game, the traditional regular-season finale, will be played at Hampden-Sydney on Nov. 10. The Tigers went 6-4 overall and 4-2 in conference contests. The Yellow Jackets have won four straight and six of the past seven meetings with H-SC. R-MC posted a 56-28 victory over the Tigers this past fall.
The Yellow Jackets posted an overall mark of 7-3 in 2017. R-MC went 4-2 in ODAC play and finished in second place in the conference standings. Arruza enters his 15th season at the helm of the R-MC football program. He is just the second Yellow Jacket football coach to earn 80 victories. Arruza's total of 81 trails only Ted Keller, who earned 105 wins in 18 seasons (1964-81).