South Dakota State will host five games, including rekindling a century-old rivalry with the University of South Dakota, during the 2012 season.
"We're excited about this year's schedule, which features another regional BCS team and the opportunity to play opponents from two of the other premier FCS conferences in the country," Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeier said. "The Missouri Valley Football Conference portion of the schedule doesn't get any easier, but we expect to be in the thick of the race for a league title and a playoff berth heading into back-to-back rivalry games to end the regular season."
The Jackrabbits open the 2012 season with another matchup against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, traveling to Lawrence, Kan., on Sept. 1 to compete against Kansas University. This game marks the third time SDSU will be taking on a Big 12 Conference foe since moving to the Division I ranks in 2004.
The following week, on Sept. 8, the Jackrabbits will head farther south as they travel to Hammond, La., for their first-ever meeting against Southeastern Louisiana. The game is the start of a home-and-home series with the Lions, who will play in Brookings during the 2013 season. SDSU is 7-2 all-time against Southland Conference opponents.
SDSU will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule Sept. 15 with its home opener against UC Davis in a battle between founding members of the now-dissolved Great West Football Conference. Kickoff for the 17th Annual Cereal Bowl is slated for 2 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The two squads have met six previous times, with the Jackrabbits holding a 4-2 series advantage after winning each of the last three meetings. UC Davis, 4-7 a season ago, is moving to the Big Sky Conference for football in 2012.
The eight-game Missouri Valley Football Conference slate opens Sept. 22, when the Jackrabbits travel to Indiana State. SDSU and the Sycamores have split their four previous matchups since the Jackrabbits joined the league in 2008.
The Jackrabbits return home Sept. 29 to square off against Missouri State in the 46th Annual Beef Bowl. SDSU has won all four previous meetings in the series, including a 43-36 double-overtime victory last season in Springfield, Mo.
Following a bye week, SDSU resumes action at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium on Oct. 13 against Western Illinois in the Hall of Fame Game. The Jackrabbits defeated the Leathernecks in Macomb to end the 2011 season and have won all four meetings since joining the MVFC. Overall, SDSU holds a 5-4 series edge.
An Oct. 20 date at Football Championship Subdivision playoff qualifier Northern Iowa follows on Oct. 20, with the Jackrabbits returning home for the 99th Hobo Day Game on Oct. 27 against Youngstown State. Kickoff for the Hobo Day game is slated for 2 p.m.
SDSU opens the final month of the regular season with back-to-back road games, traveling Nov. 3 to Southern Illinois and Nov. 10 to defending FCS champion North Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits close out the regular season Nov. 17 with a matchup against in-state rival South Dakota, in what will be the first meeting between the two squads since 2003. The two schools first met in 1889, with the game ending in a 6-all tie.
With the addition of the University of South Dakota to the MVFC, conference membership stands at 10 teams in 2012. In a decision agreed upon by all members, the conference opted to stay with an eight-game schedule. SDSU is not scheduled to play Illinois State in either 2012 or 2013.
Season ticket renewals and sales for Jackrabbit football will begin Feb. 1.