Virginia Union University’s long-awaited debut football game on its beautifully renovated grounds left a lot to be desired.

The game this Saturday, September 18 against besieged personalities of the University of Virginia in Lynchburg to produce much happier results.

Kick-off at Willie Lanier Field at Hovey Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m. The match will serve as Willard Bailey Classic.

Pickup is required on Lombardy Street.

Coach Alvin Parker’s Panthers fell to 0-2 with a 51-7 loss last Saturday to NCAA Division II juggernaut Valdosta State University of Georgia in front of a crowd of 5,019.

It was the inaugural game on Lanier Field, named after NFL Hall of Fame Willie Lanier, following the cancellation of the 2020 season.

VUU’s defense took a hit. The Panthers allowed 611 yards in their first 42-28 loss to Hampton University on September 4 and gave up 569 more yards against Valdosta State.

VUU trailed 27-0 at halftime and was down 37-0 after three quarters against the Blazers.

Jada Byers, a true 5-foot-7, 171-pound freshman from Hammonton, NJ, provided the offensive spark with 107 rushing yards and 118 extra yards on four kickoffs.

Byers produced the only touchdown on a 4-yard rush in the fourth quarter.

On the downside, star Charles Hall, who had six catches for 183 yards against Hampton, was held to no reception against the Georgians.

Preseason All-America kicker Jefferson Souza missed a 27-yard field goal that would have given the Panthers an early lead.

Quarterback Khalid Morris had 10 of 24 passes for 97 yards, with one interception. He has been sacked twice.

Jaiden Reavis of Highland Springs High School had three caches for 69 yards, including one for 46 yards.

In defense, Bryan Epps, also of Highland Springs High, was pulled over.

The Virginia Dragons at Lynchburg University are believed to serve as a “healing” remedy for VUU.

VUL lost its first game 54-0 at the University of Virginia-Wise and fell to 0-2 last week with a 50-14 loss to Mars Hill University in North Carolina.

Founded in 1886, VUL was previously known as Virginia Seminary and is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. The privately funded HBCU was a member of the CIAA from 1921 to 1954.

It is by pure coincidence that the Willard Bailey Classic will pit VUU against VUL.

The VUL football program was revived in 2011 by the same Willard Bailey who recorded a record 8-19 Dragons in three seasons.

A member of the Black College Football Hall of Fame, Coach Bailey coached at Virginia Union from 1971 to 1983 and then from 1995 to 2003. His two-stint VUU record was 157-73-6, with five consecutive playoffs in the league. NCAA Division II. berths from 1979 to 1983.

Don’t be surprised if the Willard Bailey Classic sets off a VUU winning streak. The Panthers’ upcoming games against VUL and Johnson C. Smith, Shaw, Lincoln and Chowan universities are much more winnable than the first two.

The Panthers’ CIAA Championship and NCAA submission odds will likely be determined by two home games, October 23 against Bowie State University and November 6 against Virginia State University.

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