Indians bulk up schedule with two I-A foes

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Two Division I-A opponents highlight Southeast Missouri State University's unusual 12-game 2002 football schedule released Friday.

The Indians will play 12 games for just the second time. The NCAA allows a school to schedule 12 games during years in which there are 14 Saturdays from the first permissible playing date through the last playing date in November. Southeast last played 12 games in 1994.

The schedule features five games at Houck Stadium and seven on the road, including four straight in September.

Division I-A opponents are Eastern Michigan on Sept. 14 and Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 28. The Indians played Eastern Michigan for the first time last year and held a late lead before falling 16-12. Southeast and Middle Tennessee met 11 times when the Raiders were in the Ohio Valley Conference, with the Raiders leading the series 10-1.

"We're excited about playing two I-A teams," said Southeast coach Tim Billings, whose squad went 4-7 last year. "I know our players are really excited about returning to Eastern Michigan."

Varied levels of success

Eastern Michigan ranked as one of the nation's worst I-A teams last season, going 2-9. Middle Tennessee, 8-3 in 2001, has made a solid transition since moving up from I-AA a few years ago.

Southeast will have non-conference home games Aug. 29 against Division II Arkansas-Monticello (5-6) and Nov. 16 against Samford (5-5), which will join the OVC in 2003.

Other non-league games are at Southern Illinois (1-10) on Sept. 7 and at Southwest Missouri State (6-5) on Sept. 21.

Home OVC contests are with Tennessee State (8-3) on Oct. 5, defending champion Eastern Illinois (9-2) on Oct. 19 and Tennessee Tech (7-3) on Nov. 2.

The road OVC matchups are with Tennessee Martin (1-10) on Oct. 12, Murray State (4-6) on Oct. 26 and Eastern Kentucky (8-2) on Nov. 9.

Southeast begins spring practice March 4.

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