EIU Set To Open Football Season


Published on August 28 2012 9:50 am
Last Updated on August 28 2012 9:50 am
Written by Millie Lange

Eastern Illinois University opens the 2012 football season with a new head coach as former Panthers assistant Dino Babers was hired December 9, 2011 to lead a new era of EIU football. Babers was an assistant coach on Bob Spoo's first staff at EIU back in 1987 and most recently coached at Baylor University. This will be his first game as a collegiate head coach.

THe Panthers season opening opponent will look familiar to EIU fans as the Panthers closed the 2011 season facing Southern Illinois. The Salukis won last year's season finale 45-28 in Carbondale.

This marks the second straight season that EIU has opened at home on a Thursday night against an opponent it finished the previous season against. Last year EIU faced Illinois State in the season opener after closing 2012 at ISU.

This will be the 62nd meeting between Eastern and Southern. The two schools first met in 1913 with EIU winning 54-12. They routinely played until SIU moved up to Division I in the early 1960's. SIU leads the all-time series 38-22-1 including four straight wins, three of those coming in the NCAA FCS playoffs. The last win by EIU was in 2001, a 49-21 victory in Carbondale.

Eastern was picked to finish eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll while Southern was picked to finish seventh in the Missouri Valley Football Conference pool.

Game time is 6:30 p.m. at Eastern's O'Brien Field in Charleston Thursday.

Other games in the OVC this Thursday include Southeast Missouri at Central Michigan and Hampton at Tennnessee Tech. Saturday's games include Eastern Kentucky at Purdue, Murray State at Florida State, Florida A&M at Tennessee State, Austin Peay at Western Kentucky, UT Martin at Memphis and Jacksonville State at Arkansas.