Stephen F. Austin sets challenging 2012 schedule

Stephen F. Austin football will face a particularly difficult stretch during its 2012 schedule, announced by the Southland Conference university on Tuesday.

The Lumberjacks, who won their final five games to finish with a 6-5 record this year, will open their 2012 slate on Thursday, Aug. 30 against Division II Southwestern Oklahoma.

In September, the schedule gets tougher. The Lumberjacks will play three straight road games against FBS member SMU (Sept. 8), 2011 Big Sky Conference co-champion Montana State (Sept. 15) and transitioning FCS member Texas State (Sept. 22). They will wrap up the month at home against 2011 FCS playoff qualifier Central Arkansas in their Southland Conference opener Sept. 29.

Next up is the annual Battle of the Piney Woods against 2011 FCS national finalist Sam Houston State Oct. 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

SFA also will host Southland opponents Nicholls (Oct. 20), Lamar (Nov. 3) and Northwestern State (Nov. 17) and visit McNeese State (Oct. 27) and Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 10).

"It is our goal to play a schedule that is nationally competitive every season, and the 2012 schedule is no different," SFA athletic director Robert Hill said.

2012 Stephen F. Austin Football Schedule

All Times ET

Aug. 30, vs. Southwestern Oklahoma, Nacogdoches, Texas, 7 p.m.

Sept. 8, at SMU, Dallas, TBA

Sept. 15, at Montana State, Bozeman, Mont., TBA

Sept. 22, at Texas State, San Marcos, Texas, TBA

Sept. 29, vs. Central Arkansas, Nacogdoches, Texas, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6, vs. Sam Houston State, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TBA

Oct. 20, vs. Nicholls, Nacogdoches, Texas, 3 p.m.

Oct. 27, at McNeese State, Lake Charles, La., 8 p.m.

Nov. 3, vs. Lamar, Nacogdoches, Texas, 7 p.m.

Nov. 10, at Southeastern Louisiana, Hammond, La., TBA

Nov. 17, vs. Northwestern State, Nacogdoches, Texas, 7 p.m.