Charleston, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Eastern Illinois football is hoping a potentially difficult non-conference schedule in September will lead to Ohio Valley Conference title contention in October and November.

On Thursday, EIU announced an 11-game schedule for coach Kim Dameron's second season. The Panthers finished 5-7 last year, losing all four of their non- conference games.

The Panthers will play a pair of Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents, traveling to Western Illinois on Sept. 3 and hosting FCS national runner-up Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic on Sept. 19 at O'Brien Field. In between, they will visit Big 10 member Northwestern on Sept. 12.

Within the OVC, Eastern Illinois will host Southeast Missouri (Oct. 10), Tennessee Tech (Oct. 24, Homecoming), Jacksonville State (Nov. 7) and Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 21).

The Panthers' conference road matchups are against Austin Peay (Oct. 3), Tennessee State (Oct. 17), Murray State (Oct. 31) and UT Martin (Nov. 14).

2015 Eastern Illinois Football Schedule

Sept. 3, at Western Illinois

Sept. 12, at Northwestern

Sept. 19, Illinois State

Oct. 3, at Austin Peay*

Oct. 10, Southeast Missouri*

Oct. 17, at Tennessee State*

Oct. 24, Tennessee Tech* (Homecoming)

Oct. 31, at Murray State*

Nov. 7, Jacksonville State*

Nov. 14, at UT Martin*

Nov. 21, Eastern Kentucky*

* - Ohio Valley Conference game