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Bethune-Cookman and Jackson State will match up at TIAA Bank Field

Bethune-Cookman's Jarell Knight looks on during the 2021 Florida Classic.
Will Brown
Bethune-Cookman's Jarell Knight looks on during the 2021 Florida Classic.

The Bethune-Cookman University football program is returning to the River City.

The university and the city of Jacksonville announced Tuesday that the Wildcats will face Jackson State University on Oct. 15 at TIAA Bank Field. A kickoff time has not been announced.

"For us, to play in a city like Jacksonville, with our great supporting alumni associations, it will be very exciting, and it is still a close enough drive up the road for our regular crowds from Daytona to attend. We are looking forward to the opportunity for our team and for our fans,” Bethune-Cookman football coach Terry Sims said in a statement.

This will be the 54th time the Wildcats have played in Jacksonville but first time in 16 years. Many of those previous contests were in the Gateway Classic, where Bethune-Cookman hosted historically black colleges and universities like Southern University and North Carolina A&T.

Bethune-Cookman has played Jackson State eight times. The two schools have previously played in classics in Atlanta, Indianapolis and Tampa.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted his excitement about the game.

"The City of Jacksonville is excited to host the Bethune-Cookman University vs. Jackson State University football game at TIAA Bank Field this fall," Curry tweeted. "This game is another great example of the premier sports and entertainment events making their way to Downtown Jacksonville. We look forward to welcoming players, students, and fans from throughout the region to our beautiful city."

Jackson State finished 11-2 last year and won the Southwestern Athletic Conference football championship in the first full year under head coach Deion Sanders, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bethune-Cookman ended 2-9 in 2021.

“It will be great to play in front of that audience and get the chance to connect with our great alumni base in Jacksonville," Bethune-Cookman athletic director Reggie Theus said in a statement.