2023 NEC College Football Schedules and Info

May 11, 2023 by Staff

The Northeast Conference (NEC) 2023 football schedule will feature 8 teams contesting a full 7-game round-robin schedule, and all but Stonehill will vie for the automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. This is Merrimack's first season as a full-fledged member. Stonehill is currently not eligible for the FCS playoffs until 2026.

Here is the school membership for 2023:
Central Connecticut
Sacred Heart
Saint Francis (Pa.)

Bryant left after the 2021 season to join the Big South, and Stonehill entered from the D2 ranks to take its place. The Skyhawks had competed in the Northeast 10 Conference since 2001.

Robert Morris left after the 2019 season, also going to the Big South.

St. Francis was the league's lone participant in the FCS playoffs in 2022, earning the AQ bid as regular season NEC champs. The Red Flash fell 56-17 to Delaware in the first round.

The St. Francis football program rebounded nicely from a complete absence from competitive football for nearly two full season's. After losing at Delaware State in the first round of the FCS playoffs on November 23rd of 2019, the Red Flash didn't play another football game until September 3, 2021. The Covid pandemic provided the cause for the NEC to cancel the 2020 fall season, and the school opted out of the 2021 spring season. The program went 5-6 when regular fall football returned in 2021 (4-3 in the conference), and then ran the conference table in 2022 (7-0) to finish the year with a 9-3 mark. St. Francis checked-in at No. 19 in the Final 2022 FCS Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com.

NFL Draft

Wagner linebacker Titus Leo was the only NEC player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Leo was taken in the 6th round by the Indianapolis Colts with the 211th pick over-all (out of 259).

Coaching Changes

See the entire list of FCS head coaching changes.

Central Connecticut State - Ryan McCarthy was let go November 30 and was ultimately replaced by Adam Lechtenberg 6 weeks later on January 11. The McCarthy tenure began with great aplomb as the Blue Devils went 11-2 in his first season in 2019 with an NEC title and a loss in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs. Then Covid came with no football for nearly two years as the NEC opted out of the 2020 season and CCSU refused to participate in the Spring 2021 carry-over campaign. When traditional football resumed in the fall of 2021, CCSU sank to 4-7, and further to 2-9 in 2022.

The CCSU head coaching position was the last to be filled among those open at the time. Lechtenberg had previously served as the Blue Devils' co-offensive coordinator for 2010 and 2011, helping capture the 2010 NEC championship. He spent the 2017-21 seasons at Virginia Tech, most recently as the offensive recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, before being displaced by Justin Fuente's firing at at that school. He moved on to Central Oklahoma for the 2022 season where he was assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator.

2023 Schedule

St. Francis and Stonehill only play 10 games altogether. Stonehill was a 17-13 loser as the Red Flash's homecoming opponent last year. The Skyhawks were the only conference team to lose by less than 20 to St. Francis a year ago. Stonehill will host this year's meeting on September 30 on Family Weekend.

LIU, along with St. Francis and Stonehill, plays only 4 home games.


Stonehill is the only team that has not scheduled at least one FBS opponent. The other 7 schools will play a total of 9 FBS teams, all of which are away games. Duquesne and LIU each play two FBS teams.

  • Central Connecticut goes to Kent State (9/16). The Blue Devils opened with a 28-3 loss at UConn a year ago
  • Duquesne visits West Virginia (9/9) and Coastal Carolina (9/16) on back-to-back Saturdays in September. Last year, the Dukes lost 47-7 at Florida State in week zero, and 24-14 at Hawaii in week 3
  • LIU goes to Ohio on Labor Day weekend and visits Baylor two weeks later (9/16). Last year, the Sharks opened with a 37-0 loss at Toledo, and were crushed 63-10 two weeks later at Kent State. They opened with 3 straight FBS schools in 2021 when they lost at FIU, West Virginia and Miami of Ohio
  • Merrimack will visit UMass on November 4. Best as we can determine, this will be the first ever FBS opponent for the Warriors who began their football program in 1996 and began their transition to the FCS in 2019
  • Sacred Heart ends the season at UConn for what we confirmed to be the school's first-ever matchup against a FBS program
  • St. Francis opens at Western Michigan which will be that school's third straight road opener at a MAC team. The Red Flash began the 2021 season with their first-ever FBS opponent and fell 35-15 at Eastern Michigan. Last year, they took Akron to overtime before losing 30-23
  • Wagner plays at Navy (9/9). The Seahawks are 0-15 all-time vs. the FBS, including 0-2 a year ago with huge losses at Rutgers (66-7) and Syracuse (59-0). The Wagner offense was held to 7 points or less by 6 opponents in 2022.


Only four schools have scheduled a D2 opponent.

  • Central Connecticut will host D2 American International on Labor Day weekend
  • Duquesne opens the season on Labor Day weekend against D2 Edinboro at home. As mentioned above, the Dukes visit two FBS schools so their non-conference schedule will feature just one FCS opponent (at Delaware on 10/7)
  • Merrimack will host a D2 Virginia-Lynchburg program in week 3 that enters the upcoming season on a 32-game losing streak. VUL's last win came in 2018 when they went 2-7 with victories over D3 Brevard College (North Carolina) and D2 Fort Valley State (Georgia).
  • Wagner visits D2 Post to end the season

Team-by-Team Schedules
*-denotes conference game

9/2 American International (D2)
9/9 Stonehill*
9/16 at Kent State
9/30 at Brown
10/7 Delaware State
10/14 at Duquesne*
10/21 at Wagner*
10/28 LIU*
11/4 at Sacred Heart*
11/11 at Merrimack*
11/18 St. Francis, PA*

9/2 Edinboro (D2)
9/9 at West Virginia
9/16 at Coastal Carolina
9/30 at LIU*
10/7 at Delaware
10/14 Central Connecticut*
10/21 St. Francis, PA*
10/28 at Sacred Heart*
11/4 at Wagner*
11/11 Stonehill*
11/18 at Merrimack *

9/2 at Ohio
9/9 at Bryant
9/16 at Baylor
9/30 Duquesne*
10/7 Sacred Heart*
10/14 at Maine
10/21 Merrimack*
10/28 at Central Connecticut*
11/4 at St. Francis, PA*
11/11 Wagner*
11/18 at Stonehill*

9/2 at Holy Cross
9/9 Lehigh
9/16 Virginia-Lynchburg (D2)
9/23 at Wagner*
9/30 at Sacred Heart*
10/7 Stonehill*
10/21 at LIU*
10/28 at Saint Francis*
11/4 at Massachusetts
11/11 Central Connecticut*
11/18 Duquesne*

9/2 Lafayette
9/9 at Georgetown
9/16 Wagner*
9/23 at St. Francis, PA*
9/30 Merrimack*
10/7 at LIU
10/14 at Yale
10/21 at Stonehill
10/28 Duquesne*
11/4 Central Connecticut*
11/18 at Connecticut

8/31 at Western Michigan
9/9 at Robert Morris
9/16 at Delaware
9/23 Sacred Heart*
9/30 at Stonehill*
10/14 Wagner*
10/21 at Duquesne*
10/28 Merrimack*
11/4 LIU*
11/18 at Central Connecticut*

9/2 New Hampshire
9/9 at Central Connecticut*
9/16 at Georgetown
9/23 at Fordham
9/30 St. Francis, PA*
10/7 at Merrimack*
10/21 Sacred Heart*
10/28 at Wagner*
11/11 at Duquesne*
11/18 LIU*

9/2 at Fordham
9/9 at Navy
9/16 at Sacred Heart*
9/23 Merrimack*
9/30 at Rutgers
10/14 at St. Francis, PA*
10/21 Central Connecticut*
10/28 Stonehill*
11/4 Duquesne*
11/11 at LIU*
11/18 Post (D2)