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Elon to open at UNC, play six at home

Elon, NC (Sports Network) - The Elon University football team will kick its 2012 season with a first-ever meeting against North Carolina and play six home games as part of an 11-game schedule announced Wednesday.

Elon's first three games will be against non-conference opponents, starting with the Sept. 1 opener in Chapel Hill. The game will mark the Phoenix's fifth contest against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent and its third against an ACC program.

Coach Jason Swepson's team will then host two straight games at Rhodes Stadium, Sept. 8 versus North Carolina Central and Sept. 15 against West Virginia State.

The Phoenix will finish the regular season with eight straight Southern Conference games, beginning with a Sept. 22 trip to Georgia Southern, the 2011 conference champion.

Elon's home games in SoCon play are against Wofford (Sept. 29), Western Carolina on Homecoming (Oct. 20), Furman (Oct. 27) and Samford (Nov. 10).

The other road SoCon games are against Appalachian State (Oct. 6), The Citadel (Nov. 3) and Chattanooga (Nov. 17).

"Our schedule is one that will challenge us in 2012," Swepson said. "Opening at North Carolina provides our program an incredible opportunity for our students, alumni and fans to support us and helps us recruit in-state. We want to have some early success against non-conference opponents and ride that into Southern Conference play. The Southern Conference is one of the top leagues in the country and the games are always very competitive. Our goal is to win a SoCon title."

Elon is coming off a 5-6 record in Swepson's first season, including 3-5 in the SoCon.

2012 Elon Football Schedule

Sept. 1, at North Carolina (2011 Record: 7-6, 3-5 ACC)

Sept. 8, vs. North Carolina Central (2-9, 1-7 MEAC)

Sept. 15, vs. West Virginia State (1-9, 1-7 WVIAC)

Sept. 22, at Georgia Southern* (11-3, 7-1 SoCon)

Sept. 29, vs. Wofford* (8-4, 6-2 SoCon)

Oct. 6, at Appalachian State* (8-4, 6-2 SoCon)

Oct. 20, vs. Western Carolina* (1-10, 0-8 SoCon) - Homecoming

Oct. 27, vs. Furman* (6-5, 5-3 SoCon)

Nov. 3, at The Citadel* (4-7, 2-6 SoCon)

Nov. 10, vs. Samford* (6-5, 4-4 SoCon)

Nov. 17, at Chattanooga* (5-6, 3-5 SoCon)

* - Southern Conference game

01/18 11:28:02 ET