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The Weber State University Athletics Department has announced two major series for the football and men’s basketball programs to be played in the coming season.
After being unable to get into a preseason tournament last year, WSU men’s basketball coach Randy Rahe announced that his team will participate in a tournament this year. The Wildcats will be one of just eight teams to participate in the 2014 Ezybonds Global Payments U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam this November.
“We are really excited and looking forward to participating in the Paradise Jam in November,” Rahe said. “This will be a great opportunity for our team to play in a high-level tournament against some outstanding competition.”
The Wildcats will join Clemson University, Gardner-Webb University, Illinois State University, Louisiana State University, the University of Nevada, Old Dominion University and Seton Hall University at the tournament. The tournament will be held on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Nov. 21-24.
The Wildcats will play three games during the four-day tournament, hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands, the weekend before Thanksgiving. The tournament bracket and schedule will be announced later this year. This will be WSU’s first preseason tournament in three years.
Along with former Big Sky member Nevada, WSU has also faced ISU, LSU and ODU in its history. The Wildcats have never faced Clemson, GWU or SHU.
The annual Paradise Jam began in 2001, with the University of Maryland winning the 2013 title. Some of the 2014 Paradise Jam games will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, and the remaining contests can be seen live online.
The WSU football team also landed a pair of games with North Dakota State University, the three-time defending Football Championship Subdivision National Champion. The Wildcats will host the Bison on Sept. 6 in their 2014 home opener. The Wildcats will face NDSU in Fargo, N.D., on Sept. 12, 2015.
“We are excited and looking forward to this series with North Dakota State,” said Jerry Bovee, WSU director of athletics. “It’s an opportunity to have one of the finest programs in the country come to Ogden, and we know it will be a great game for our fans to watch.”
The Bison finished 2013 with a 15-0 record and won their third-straight FCS national title. NDSU will enter this season with a 24-game winning streak, an FCS record.
“We want to build our program to be one of the best in FCS football and are excited for the chance to play North Dakota State,” said new WSU football coach Jay Hill. “They are the best team in the country and will be a great indicator of the level we need to get to. We are very excited about this home-and-home series.”
The announcement of the series with NDSU completes WSU’s 2014 schedule. The Wildcats will have a 12-game schedule, with the season-opener set for Aug. 28 at Arizona State University. That will be the only game against a Football Bowl Subdivision team. That will be followed by three straight non-conference games against FCS opponents.
After hosting NDSU, the Wildcats will play a non-conference game at the University of California, Sacramento on Sept. 13 and at Stephen F. Austin State University on Sept. 20. WSU opened the 2013 season with a 50-40 win over SFASU in Ogden.
The Wildcats will begin the eight-game Big Sky Conference schedule Sept. 27 at Southern Utah University. WSU will not play Eastern Washington University, the University of Montana or the University of California, Davis in Big Sky games.