Normal, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Illinois State's football program will play seven home games, including four to open the 2014 season, as part of an 11-game schedule announced on Monday.
The Redbirds were 5-0 at Hancock Stadium last season and hope to enjoy home field advantage again at their newly renovated facility.
"Having seven home games is big for us because we have a great facility to play in, and our home fans make this a great place to play for us and a tough venue to play in for our opponents," sixth-year coach Brock Spack said. "We haven't had that many games at home since we've been here as a staff, and it will be nice for our players to experience that kind of schedule. Last year, we only had five home games partly because of the construction schedule, so it will be nice for our fans to have seven to watch this year at home."
Illinois State, which finished 5-6 last season, will open the 2014 campaign with non-conference games against Mississippi Valley State (Sept. 6), Eastern Illinois (Sept. 13) in the 103rd meeting of the Mid-America Classic, and Austin Peay (Sept. 27).
The Redbirds will finish their opening homestand against South Dakota State on Oct. 4 in their Missouri Valley Football Conference opener. It will serve as their Homecoming game.
The Redbirds also will host Missouri State (Oct. 25), Youngstown State (Nov. 8) and Southern Illinois (Nov. 22) in conference games.
Also within the MVFC, Illinois State will visit Indiana State (Oct. 11), Western Illinois (Oct. 18), Northern Iowa (Nov. 1) and South Dakota (Nov. 15).
The Redbirds will not play three-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State in the 10-team MVFC.
2014 Illinois State Football Schedule
All Times ET
Sept. 6, Mississippi Valley State, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13, Eastern Illinois, 1 p.m.
Sept. 27, Austin Peay, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4, South Dakota State* (Homecoming), 7 p.m.
Oct. 11, at Indiana State*, TBA
Oct. 18, at Western Illinois*, 4 p.m.
Oct. 25, Missouri State*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1, at Northern Iowa*, TBA
Nov. 8, Youngstown State*, 2 p.m.
Nov. 15, at South Dakota*, TBA
Nov. 22, Southern Illinois*, 2 p.m.
* - Missouri Valley Football Conference game