San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Incarnate Word football will play a 12- game schedule as part of its first Southland Conference season this year.

The schedule includes six home games at Benson Stadium, beginning with Sacramento State on Aug. 30.

The Cardinals will play four home games against Southland opponents, Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 27), Houston Baptist (Oct. 4), McNeese State (Oct. 25) and Sam Houston State (Nov. 8). In addition, they will host Texas Lutheran (Oct. 18).

Incarnate Word's non-conference road games are against Southland member Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 6), which doesn't count toward the conference standings, and three-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State (Sept. 13).

Within Southland play, the Cardinals will visit Abilene Christian (Sept. 20), Northwestern State (Oct. 11), Nicholls (Nov. 1) and Lamar (Nov. 15).

"We like a challenge," said UIW coach Larry Kennan, whose team finished 6-5 as an FCS independent last year. "It is a great schedule that includes some of the top teams in the nation. We like that we will be playing 12 games, but we will have to be prepared for tough competition every week."

2014 Incarnate Word Football Schedule

Aug. 30, Sacramento State

Sept. 6, at Stephen F. Austin

Sept. 13, at North Dakota State

Sept. 20, at Abilene Christian*

Sept. 27, Southeastern Louisiana*

Oct. 4, Houston Baptist*

Oct. 11, at Northwestern State*

Oct. 18, Texas Lutheran

Oct. 25, McNeese State*

Nov. 1, at Nicholls*

Nov. 8, Sam Houston State*

Nov. 15, at Lamar*

* - Southland Conference game