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West Virginia, Tennessee set 2028 football opener

The Mountaineers are headed back to Charlotte.

The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced Tuesday that Tennessee will play West Virginia in the 2028 Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina.

West Virginia will be designated the home team for the game at Bank of America Stadium. The game is set for Saturday, Sept. 2, 2028. The kickoff time and ticket information will be announced at a later date.

This will be the second regular season matchup in Charlotte between the Volunteers, from the Southeastern Conference, and the Mountaineers, from the Big 12 Conference. The two teams played at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 1, 2018 in front of 66,793 fans. WVU won 40-14. It is the only time the two schools have squared off on the gridiron.

“We are very excited to announce that Tennessee and West Virginia will be returning to Charlotte to kick off the 2028 college football season,” said Danny Morrison, Executive Director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation. “In 2018, Charlotte hosted the first-ever meeting between the two schools in football. The atmosphere surrounding the game was tremendous, with very active, supportive fan bases. We are proud to bring this marquee matchup back to the Queen City and look forward to hosting the Volunteer and Mountaineer teams and fans again in Charlotte.”

This will be fifth football game all-time that the Mountaineers play in Charlotte. Besides Tennessee in 2017, West Virginia also faced East Carolina in the 1999 regular season opener, losing to the Pirates 30-23. In addition, WVU split a pair of bowl games in Charlotte, losing to Virginia, 48-22, in 2002 but defeating North Carolina, 31-30, in 2008. All of those Charlotte contests were played in the downtown stadium that was originally known as Ericsson Stadium after its 1996 opening but has gone by Bank of America Stadium since 2004. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers are hoping to get a new stadium in the future, so by 2028, WVU and UT may be meeting in a different facility in Charlotte.

The 2028 game with UT is the only neutral site regular season game currently on West Virginia’s future schedules. The Mountaineers were supposed to meet Florida State in Atlanta this past season, but that contest was cancelled because of COVID. WVU did have a recent run of neutral site regular season games, playing six in a seven-year span from 2012-18 – three in Landover, Maryland, one in Baltimore, one in Atlanta and one in Charlotte.

“West Virginia University has a strong alumni fan base in Charlotte and the surrounding region. Through the years, our fans have enjoyed traveling to Charlotte for our bowl and neutral site games,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “As with the game in 2018, this gives us a chance to play a strong nonconference opponent in a city that is known for its great hospitality. Based on the attendance from 2018, this series renewal should be another fan favorite.”

“This should be a fun showcase game for our program in a city and venue our fans enjoy visiting,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White said. “Opening our season against a quality opponent like West Virginia will serve as a valuable experience for our team prior to SEC play.”

“The Charlotte Sports Foundation continues to generate substantial positive events for the community,” said Johnny Harris, Board Co-Chairman of the Charlotte Sport Foundation. “The 2018 game between Tennessee and West Virginia was a great time for fans hosted by Charlotte. We look forward to thousands of Volunteers and Mountaineers visiting our great City in 2028.”

WVU is 16-21-1 all-time against SEC teams, but it has won 10 of its last 18 games against teams from that league dating back to 1969.

The matchup with Tennessee in 2028 is the first non-conference game announced for the Mountaineer football team that season, thus leaving two other openings to go along with the nine Big 12 contests. WVU has only two other openings on its football schedule between now and 2028: 2025, which will probably be away since it already has non-conference home games against Pitt and Robert Morris that season, and 2027, which will probably be home as it hosts VMI and travels to Alabama that year.

West Virginia’s future non-conference games:

2021 — at Maryland, vs. LIU, vs. Virginia Tech

2022 — at Pitt, at Virginia Tech, vs. Towson

2023 — at Penn State, vs. Duquesne, vs. Pitt

2024 — vs. Penn State, vs. Albany, at Pitt

2025 — vs. Robert Morris, vs. Pitt, TBA

2026 — vs. Alabama, vs. Tennessee-Martin, at East Carolina

2027 — at Alabama, vs. VMI, TBA

2028 — vs. Tennessee in Charlotte, TBA, TBA