Prairie View A&M University Athletic Director Fred Washington today announced the 2012 Panther football schedule. The Panthers will play an action-packed 11-game slate in 2012 highlighted by a contest at the defending FCS National Champions, nine Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) games, four football classics, two on-campus contests and the return to the Golden Triangle area of Texas for the first time since 1998.

The Panthers kickoff the 2012 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against state and conference rival Texas Southern in the 28th edition of the State Farm Labor Day Classic as it returns to Reliant Stadium in Houston after a one-year hiatus at 7 p.m. For the second straight season, the rivalry will feature a new but familiar face as second-year head coach Heishma Northern will square off against longtime friend and new TSU head coach Darrell Asberry.

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On Sept. 8, the Panthers will make the short trek down the highway to the Golden Triangle as they’ll meet Lamar University of the Southland Conference for the first time since 1985 in Beaumont, Texas. In addition to the first meeting between both teams in nearly 27 years, the Panthers will return to the city of Beaumont and Provost Umphrey Stadium for the first time since 1998.

One week later on Sept. 15, Prairie View A&M travels to Huntsville, Ala. for a 6 p.m. match-up at Alabama A&M in the third annual Lewis Crews Classic before closing out non-conference play with a game at defending 2011 FCS National Champion North Dakota State on Sept. 22 in Fargo, N.D. The month of September concludes on Sept. 29 as the Panthers step back into SWAC play with a trip to Jackson, Miss. for a meeting at Jackson State.

The annual State Fair Classic in the Cotton Bowl kicks off the month of October as PV will square off against Grambling State in Dallas on Oct. 6. After a much-deserved weekend off on Oct. 13, the Panthers make their Blackshear Field debut on Oct. 20 as Alcorn State comes to town in a homecoming showdown at 2 p.m. One weekend later on Oct. 27, Prairie View will participate in the third annual Shreveport Classic at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La. against divisional foe Southern University.

The schedule’s homestretch begins on Saturday, Nov. 3 as the Panthers return home to Blackshear Field to face Alabama State. The Panthers will honor their 2012 senior class during the contest in addition to the third annual PV Marching Storm Band Appreciation Day. The season concludes on the road for consecutive weekends as the Panthers will travel to Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, Nov. 17.

“This is one of our most competitive schedules we’ve had in quite some time,” said Northern. “From the opening week to the final week, we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game to the field as we have two solid non-conference teams plus our league foes. I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Panther fans will have an opportunity to get an early jump on the action for next season as season tickets for the 2012 season will go on sale April 15. For more information and to see finalized game times once they’re available, log on to the department’s official athletic website at www.PVPANTHERS.com.

(TSPN Sports)