The Division II Game of the Week broadcast schedule kicks off with fifth-ranked Winston-Salem State at UNC-Pembroke at 8 p.m. ET Thursday (CBS Sports Network).

“This year’s package of games offers a tremendous representation of Division II football,” said Frank Condino, chair of the DII Football Committee and athletics director at Indiana (Pa.).

"The quality of teams and talent included is top-notch across the country. Featuring last year's national runner-up [Winston-Salem State], a game at Cowboys Stadium and a matchup pitting the defending Harlon Hill Trophy winner against last year's third-place finisher are just a few of the highlights that make this lineup special."

WINSTON-SALEM STATE AT UNC-PEMBROKE
Winston-Salem St. UNC-Pembroke

Winston-Salem State will be led by senior linebacker Carlos Fields Jr., tabbed a first team DII All-America by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Fields, the 2012 CIAA Defensive Player of the Year, also was named a preseason first team All-CIAA selection.

Winston-Salem State head coach Connell Maynor is 35-4 entering his fourth season. UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick is 41-22 through six seasons. Winston-Salem State leads the all-time series 3-0, including last season's 28-23 win.

UNCP officials also announced that the Skydiving Exhibitionists jump crew will deliver the game ball via parachute (weather permitting) prior to the game. The air delivery of the game ball will be the first for a UNCP home game since the Braves' first home game against Greensboro on Sept. 8, 2007.

Wilmington, N.C., native Roman Gabriel, a two-time ACC player of the year and 1969 NFL MVP will be honored during the first half. "Coach Shinnick has done a great job in reaching out to southeastern North Carolina," UNCP Director of Athletics Dick Christy said. "As the football team for the southeastern part of the state, UNC Pembroke is excited to honor Roman for his many accomplishments and philanthropic work in our area."

Committed to charity work in his current home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Gabriel has raised more than $5 million for charity through RG Sports Connection trust through which he promoted celebrity golf tournaments for various charities -- multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, leukemia, the blind, the Special Olympics and the Salvation Army.

DII ON TV
DATE MATCHUP
Sept. 5 Winston-Salem St. at UNC-Pembroke
Sept. 12 Chadron St. vs. West Texas A&M *
Sept. 19 West Alabama at Florida Tech
Oct. 3 Harding at Southern Arkansas
Oct. 17 Findlay at Ohio Dominican
Oct. 31 Shippensburg at Bloomsburg
* at Cowboys Stadium
All games are scheduled at 8 p.m. ET

Gabriel was the top pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1962 AFL draft, and was later selected with the second pick of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. During his 16-year NFL career with both the Rams (1962-72) and the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-77), he earned four Pro Bowl nods while also taking home NFL MVP laurels following the 1969 season. When Gabriel retired he ranked as the Rams' all-time passing leader with 22,223 yards and 154 touchdowns. In 1973, he led the NFL with 3,219 yards and 23 TD passes en route to NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

An Academic All-American and two-time football All-American, Gabriel set 22 NC State records, nine ACC marks and earned a place in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. He threw for 2,961 yards and 19 TDs for the Wolfpack, while also playing a key role on the baseball and basketball teams. Voted the best amateur athlete in the Carolinas, he was also included on the ACC's 50th Anniversary Football Team in 2003.

After retirement from pro football in 1977, Gabriel went into broadcasting as a color commentator for CBS television and, later, Carolina Panthers radio.

Division II enters the eighth year of its partnership with CBS Sports Network in 2013, with nearly 25 percent of the division’s football-playing members having enjoyed national television exposure during the course of the agreement.

“Institutions from seven different conferences, plus one independent, are represented this year,” NCAA Associate Director of Division II Josh Looney said. “Over the past seven years, national telecasts have originated from 35 different Division II football stadiums, and we’re adding five new venues to that list this year. In addition, eight teams will make their first football appearance on CBS Sports Network. This partnership has provided incredible visibility for our division that only continues to grow.”