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ASU to continue Turkey Day Classic without Tuskegee in 2013

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Hours after the Tuskegee University Athletics Department released its 2013 football schedule, and announced that it would not play against rival Alabama State University in the annual Turkey Day Classic, ASU is announcing the team that it will play instead.

ASU says it will play Stillman College in the 90th annual Thanksgiving Day football game.

"We are pleased to release the 2013 ASU football schedule," Alabama State Interim President Dr. William H. Harris said. "As is reflected on our schedule, we are proud to say that the tradition that is the Turkey Day Classic will be the final regular season game and another state institution, Stillman College, will be our opponent for 2013."

Dr. Harris confirmed that the annual parade and all of the events that make up the oldest HBCU Classic in the nation will continue.

"It is unfortunate that Tuskegee University has chosen not to be our opponent for this year's Classic," Harris said. "We had looked forward to continuing the rivalry..."

It's not the first time in its history that the annual Thanksgiving Day matchup hasn't featured ASU and Tuskegee. The two teams didn't play each other in 1986, 1987, 1991 and 1992.

It's not currently known if the two teams have ended their matchup permanently or if just for the 2013 season.

"We've always played the Turkey Day Classic, regardless of who the opponent has been," ASU head football coach Reggie Barlow said. "For many years, it has been Tuskegee; but unfortunately, they have other plans, which creates an opportunity for another team."

ASU's 2013 Football Schedule

Alabama State will begin its 12-game, 2013 campaign on August 31 against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

Following the home opener against the Gamecocks, Alabama State will begin conference play on the road with games at Eastern Division champion Jackson State and SWAC and Western Division champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Hornets will open their home conference schedule with back-to-back games against Grambling State and Alcorn State. 

Alabama State starts October on the road at Texas Southern and home against Prairie View A&M. Following an open date, the Hornets will face archrival Alabama A&M in the 72nd State Farm Magic City Classic in Birmingham. 

ASU will begin November at Kentucky before finishing conference play at home against Southern and on the road at Mississippi Valley State. After an open date, the Hornets will host Stillman for the first time in the Turkey Day Classic. 

"We talk all the time about the parity in our conference," Barlow said. "Last year, several of the teams had new coaches and were adjusting to the SWAC. Now, those teams have a year under their belt and are headed in the right direction. To open SWAC play on the road against the two teams that played for the championship will be a real challenge. It will be another challenging conference schedule, and it gives the SWAC fans what they like to see – a lot of good football!" 

The Toyota SWAC Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday, December 14.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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