Eastern Illinois to face tough opening stretch

Defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Eastern Illinois will play two FBS conference champions as part of a 12-game schedule in 2013.

The early portion of the schedule will be particularly tough for coach Dino Babers' Panthers. They will open the season at Mountain West co-champion San Diego State on Aug. 31 and then visit Southern Illinois from the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Sept. 7.

EIU's home opener will be against in-state rival Illinois State in the Mid- America Classic on Sept. 14. Illinois State also is a Missouri Valley member.

Next up is a visit to Northern Illinois, the defending Mid-American Conference champion, on Sept. 21.

The Panthers then complete the opening month of action with their OVC opener at home against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 28.

Each of EIU's first five opponents had a winning season this past year.

EIU also will host OVC opponents Southeast Missouri State (Oct. 19), Homecoming), Tennessee Tech (Nov. 2) and Jacksonville State (Nov. 16).

Their conference road games will be against Austin Peay (Oct. 12), Tennessee State (Oct. 26), Murray State (Nov. 9) and UT Martin (Nov. 23).


Aug. 31, at San Diego State

Sept. 7, at Southern Illinois

Sept. 14, Illinois State

Sept. 21, at Northern Illinois

Sept. 28, Eastern Kentucky*

Oct. 12, at Austin Peay*

Oct. 19, Southeast Missouri State* (Homecoming)

Oct. 26, at Tennessee State*

Nov. 2, Tennessee Tech*

Nov. 9, at Murray State*

Nov. 16, Jacksonville State*

Nov. 23, at UT Martin*

* - Ohio Valley Conference game