MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois Football and head coach Bob Nielson announced the Leathernecks will play six games at Hanson Field as part of the 2013 schedule. The first-year head coach announced the upcoming fall's schedule on Friday (Feb. 15).
NCAA Division I FCS teams are allowed to play an extra 12th game in 2013 due to the calendar setting (and again in 2014), and Western will take advantage of the extra game to play a second Football Bowl Subdivision program.
Western again opens the season at home on Thursday night, playing host to Hampton of the MEAC on August 29th. NCAA Division II Quincy travels to Hanson Field the following weekend on September 7th. Hampton won the only meeting between the two teams (2004 at HU), and Western holds a 10-2 all-time advantage over Quincy - last defeating the Hawks 63-0 in 2008.
The Leathernecks close out non-conference play with a pair of FBS games - traveling to Big Ten Conference member Minnesota on September 14th, and Mountain West Conference member UNLV on the 21st. This marks the first-ever meeting between Western and the Golden Gophers. Western split the only two meetings against UNLV, winning in 1972 but losing in 1977.
The Leathernecks open Missouri Valley Football Conference play at home versus South Dakota (Sept. 28) as part of Family Weekend activities. Western travels to Illinois State (Oct. 5) then plays host to South Dakota State on October 12th for the Homecoming/Hall of Fame game.
Following a road MVFC game at Youngstown State (Oct. 19), Western closes out its home schedule against Missouri State (Dads' Weekend/Oct. 26) and Southern Illinois (Nov. 2), followed by its bye weekend.
The regular season concludes with road games at Indiana State (Nov. 16) and Northern Iowa (Nov. 23). The opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division I playoffs begins on November 30.
According to Nielson, the opportunity to play a 12th game will be a challenge but also a benefit for his program.
"We are going to take full advantage of the permissible 12-game schedule. It will be a great experience and opportunity for our student-athletes, to face outstanding FBS programs like Minnesota and UNLV," said Nielson. "The tough non-conference schedule will help prepare us for the start of Missouri Valley Football Conference play. Last year the MVFC again showed why it's the best league in the country. Every game will be a highly-competitive contest, and we are looking forward to preparing our team for the challenges that lie ahead in 2013."