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Photo by: South Dakota State University
SDSU will host five games at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in 2011, starting with the season opener Sept. 3 against Southern Utah

SDSU finalizes 2011 schedule

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 02/15/2011 17:06:10
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The South Dakota State University football team will host a pair of Football Championship Subdivision playoff teams as part of a five-game home schedule in 2011.

"We are excited about the 2011 schedule and the challenges that each game presents," Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeier said. "The Missouri Valley Football Conference continues to get stronger across the board. Also, we have the opportunity to revisit our FCS history when we compete against two very good Great West teams in Southern Utah and Cal Poly. In addition, we are confident we will be up to the challenge of competing against the University of Illinois of the Big Ten."

The Jackrabbits will open the 2011 slate at home Sept. 3 with a matchup against former Great West Football Conference opponent Southern Utah in the 16th Annual Cereal Bowl game. SDSU and Southern Utah helped form the GWFC in 2004, with the Jackrabbits holding a 3-1 series advantage. The Thunderbirds won the Great West title in 2010 with a 4-0 league mark, finishing the season 6-5 overall.

The following week, SDSU will play its lone Football Bowl Subdivision opponent of the season, traveling to compete against the University of Illinois on Sept. 10. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 7-6 season in which they defeated Baylor University in the Texas Bowl.

On Sept. 17, the Jackrabbits will renew their rivalry with another former conference foe, Cal Poly, with a game in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The matchup with the Mustangs is the beginning of a three-game series that is scheduled to include games in Brookings during the 2014 and 2016 seasons. The two squads played six consecutive seasons (2004-09), with Cal Poly gaining a 4-2 series advantage.

"We look forward to the challenges of a great 2011 schedule," SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell said. "Being in one of the top FCS conferences in the nation and scheduling quality out-of-conference teams will prepare us to make a run for the playoffs and hopefully allow us to compete for a national championship."

Missouri Valley Football Conference action gets under way Sept. 24, with the Jackrabbits traveling to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State University. SDSU leads the all-time series, 2-1, including a 38-17 road victory in 2009.

The Jackrabbits will be home three of the first four weekends in October, starting with an Oct. 1 matchup against upstart Indiana State University in the 45th Annual Beef Bowl. After an Oct. 8 trip to Youngstown State University, SDSU will host FCS playoff qualifiers the University of Northern Iowa and North Dakota State University on back-to-back Saturdays. The Oct. 15 game with UNI, the defending MVFC champion, has been designated as the Hall of Fame Game, while the Oct. 22 matchup against the Bison is the annual Battle for the Dakota Marker. UNI was bounced out of the playoffs in the first round to finish at 7-5 overall and with a No. 19 national ranking. NDSU reached the FCS Quarterfinals with a pair of playoff victories before falling to eventual national champion Eastern Washington and finished No. 9 in the final media poll with a 9-5 mark.

SDSU closes out the month of October with an Oct. 29 game at Missouri State University.

The home portion of the regular season schedule concludes with the Hobo Day game against Southern Illinois University on Nov. 5. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. The Jackrabbits earned their first-ever victory over SIU last season, winning 31-10 on the Salukis' home field.

A Nov. 12 matchup at Western Illinois University, which also reached the FCS playoffs in 2010, concludes the Jackrabbits' regular season schedule. SDSU has won all three meetings with the Fighting Leathernecks since joining the MVFC in 2008, including a 33-29 home victory last season, to tie the all-time series at four games apiece.

The 20-team FCS playoffs are slated to begin Nov. 26.

The 2011 season will mark the 50th year of Jackrabbit football at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Season tickets are scheduled to go on sale March 1.

Sept. 3 SOUTHERN UTAH [Cereal Bowl] 6 p.m. SDSU leads 3-1
Sept. 10 at Illinois TBA

First meeting

Sept. 17 at Cal Poly 4 p.m. PT Cal Poly leads 4-2
Sept. 24 *at Illinois State TBA SDSU leads 2-1
Oct. 1 *INDIANA STATE [Beef Bowl] 6 p.m. SDSU leads 2-1
Oct. 8 *at Youngstown State TBA SDSU leads 7-5
Oct. 15 *NORTHERN IOWA [Hall of Fame Game] 6 p.m. UNI leads 26-17-2
Oct. 22 *NORTH DAKOTA STATE [Dakota Marker Game] 2 p.m. NDSU leads 52-40-5
Oct. 29 *at Missouri State TBA SDSU leads 3-0
Nov. 5 *SOUTHERN ILLINOIS [Hobo Day] 2 p.m. SIU leads 2-1
Nov. 12 *at Western Illinois TBA Series tied 4-4
  *Missouri Valley Football Conference game    

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