The Eastern Washington University football team is going to log a lot of road miles this fall to some of the toughest football venues in America.
The Eagles visit two bowl teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, as well as travel to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision runner-up, as EWU’s 2013 schedule was officially announced January 31 by EWU athletics director Bill Chaves. For the first time in school history, Eastern’s regular season will include 12 games.
Eastern, which finished 11-3 last season and advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs, opens the season Aug. 31 at Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. Two weeks later, the Eagles travel to Ohio to play Toledo, then EWU plays at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas, Sept. 28.
Collectively, those three opponents were 29-12 overall and won 16 of 17 games at home. Oregon State and Toledo both lost in bowl games last season, while SHSU defeated EWU in the playoffs to advance to the championship game in FCS, where the Bearkats lost to North Dakota State 39-13.
Providing a respite from the challenging September road schedule will be Eastern’s home opener Sept. 7 versus Western Oregon. Eastern’s other home games at Roos Field are Oct. 5 versus Weber State (Hall of Fame Day), Oct. 19 against Southern Utah (Homecoming), Nov. 9 against Montana State and Nov. 23 versus Portland State (Senior Day).
Game times for EWU home games will be announced at a later date, but the Sept. 7 game versus Western Oregon will most likely be a night game.
Eastern’s four league road games require significant travel as well. Eastern plays its first-ever game in Grand Forks, N.D., Oct. 12 versus North Dakota, tangles with Montana in Missoula Oct. 26, travels to Idaho State in Pocatello Nov. 2 and makes its final road trip of the regular season at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on Nov. 16.
A year ago, Eastern shared the Big Sky Conference title with Montana State and Cal Poly, as all three teams finished 7-1 in the league. The Eagles finished ranked fourth in FCS, while Sam Houston State was second, MSU fourth and Cal Poly 12th.
Oregon State was 9-4 overall and 6-1 in the Pac-12 Conference in 2012, ranked 19th nationally. The Beavers ended the season by losing 31-27 to Texas is the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Toledo advanced to its third-straight bowl game, falling to Utah State 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise. The Rockets finished 9-4 overall and 6-2 in the Western Division of the Mid-American Conference.
Sam Houston State has now lost the last two title games in FCS, and edged EWU 45-42 in the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs Dec. 15, 2012, at Roos Field. The Bearkats finished the season 11-4 overall and 6-1 in the Southland.