Here are game-by-game predictions for the Eagles, who are ranked No. 13 in HERO Sports’ FCS Preseason Top 25.
RELATED: NC Central Football Preview
vs Winston-Salem State
NC Central kicks off its anticipated season with a big win over a D2 opponent that went 3-6 last year.
at North Carolina A&T
NC Central’s veteran squad that returns 12 All-MEAC players from last year’s 10-2 team will be put to the test on the road, in an energetic environment, and against a rival.
NC A&T hasn’t fared too well since leaving the MEAC, and it has lost some standout players to the FBS this offseason. Despite the Aggies being picked to finish 10th in the CAA and NC Central being projected as the top HBCU team in 2023, expect a competitive game. But NC Central comes out on top.
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Mississippi Valley State
Played in Indianapolis, NC Central should collect another MEAC over SWAC win. Mississippi Valley State finished 2-9 last season.
This was an odd game last year. Campbell physically manhandled NC Central, winning 48-18 and rushing for 315 yards. And Campbell wasn’t all that good, finishing 5-6. Two games earlier, NC Central had beaten No. 25 and eventual playoff participant New Hampshire 45-27.
Campbell continues to load up on talent, bringing in 17 FBS transfers and signing the top 2023 FCS recruiting class. At home, the Eagles get their revenge.
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at Elon (Received Votes)
Elon is just outside of the preseason Top 25 after making last year’s playoffs. Many expect the Phoenix to take a step back with some of its player losses.
Elon returns only three All-CAA players. But the team always plays physically, and it does have standout RB Jalen Hampton back. I’m not sure the Phoenix will crack the Top 25 by this point in the season, but it’s still an opportunity for a quality road win for NC Central.
at Morgan State
The Eagles get a bye week before another road trip. They’ll be favored to beat a Morgan State team that went 4-7 last year. Protecting Davius Richard from DL Elijah Williams will be key here.
vs South Carolina State
SC State looks to rebound after a tough 3-8 record last year, one season removed from winning the Celebration Bowl. Plenty of experience is back, including 10 All-MEAC players. But NC Central will have too much firepower for the defense to slow down.
vs Norfolk State
Norfolk State had the worst overall record last year among MEAC teams, finishing 2-9. NC Central keeps on rolling.
If there’s a team to trip up NC Central in conference play, it’s Howard. Howard has talent (NFL Draft prospect OL Anim Dankwah, DB standout Kenny Gallop Jr., RBs Jarett Hunter and Ian Wheeler) and experience (a league-high 15 returning All-MEAC players).
On the road, the Eagles lose their first FCS game of the season, putting the MEAC title race in an intriguing spot.
vs Delaware State
Delaware State is making strides, going from 2-10 in 2019 to 5-6 in 2021 and 2022. NC Central will be out for blood, though, after last week’s loss. Celebration Bowl bid implications will be fascinating heading into the Week 12 matchups.
Regular-Season Record Prediction: 9-2