The Redbirds are coming off a 4-7
campaign in 2004, losing the last four decisions. The game at Iowa
State will be ISU's first Division I-A opener since 2002, when the
'Birds kicked off at Purdue.
The Cyclones posted a 7-5 record a year ago, winning five of their
last six, including a 17-13 victory over Miami (Ohio) in the
Independence Bowl. This will be the first meeting between the two
schools, which are separated by only 325 miles.
"We've had a chance to play some Big
Ten schools over the last couple of years, and it's exciting to step
over into the Big 12 and play Iowa State," head coach Denver Johnson
said. "The most exciting thing about playing (Iowa State) is that we
are staying in the region. It is good for our school and great for
our fans that want to travel to see the Redbirds. I'm really glad
that we were able to work that out with Iowa State."
The Redbirds will open their home
campaign on Sept. 10, when they host the 2004 Pioneer Football
League champions. Drake, a Division I-AA non-scholarship program,
finished the season with a 10-2 record, including a 20-17 win over
Morehead State in the conference championship game. This will be the
seventh meeting between the two programs, with the Redbirds leading
4-2, including a 27-13 win in 2003 at Hancock Stadium.
On Sept. 17, ISU will meet Eastern
Illinois for the 93rd time -- the longest series for both schools.
The Redbirds have won five of the last six meetings.
The following week ISU will host
another Ohio Valley Conference team in Murray State. The Racers
finished the 2004 campaign with a 7-4 mark and claimed victories in
their last four games of the season. ISU and Murray State have split
the first two meetings, and this is the first of a four-game series.
"The non-conference slate provides
us with a chance to grow, the chance to improve and the chance to
test ourselves and to see where we are at, heading into conference
play," Johnson said.
Illinois State opens Gateway
Football Conference action on Oct. 1 at Youngstown State, before
facing the league's top three teams in successive weeks. Homecoming
2005 will be celebrated on Oct. 8, when the 'Birds host Western
Kentucky, which finished second in the league a year ago with a 9-3
[to top of second column in this article]
After WKU, the Redbirds travel to
defending league champion Southern Illinois and host third-place
Northern Iowa on Oct. 22. ISU closes out the regular season with
home dates against Western Illinois and Indiana State, while
traveling to SMS on Nov. 5, between the two home games.
"It doesn't matter how you shake up
the Gateway Conference, you are going to have your tough stretches,"
Johnson said. "There are too many good opponents to get some
separation in there. Having four conference games at home is
exciting, and I'm really happy with the schedule. It certainly has
its challenges and opportunities, but I'm looking forward to spring
practice as we lead up to that Sept. 3 kickoff at Ames."
(Date, opponent, time)
* Conference game
- Sept. 3 -- at Iowa State, 6 p.m.
- Sept. 10 -- Drake, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 17 -- at Eastern Illinois,
- Sept. 24 -- Murray State, Hall of
- Oct. 1 -- at Youngstown State*, 5
- Oct. 8 -- Western Kentucky*,
homecoming, 2:30 p.m.
- Oct. 15 -- at Southern Illinois*,
- Oct. 22 -- Northern Iowa*, Family
- Oct. 29 -- Western Illinois*,
- Nov. 5 -- at SMS*, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 12 -- Indiana State*, 1:30
- Sept. 16 -- Eastern Illinois
- Sept. 23 -- at Murray State
- Sept. 30 -- at Northern Iowa*
- Oct. 7 -- at Western Kentucky*
- Oct. 14 -- Southern Illinois*,
- Oct. 21 -- at Western Illinois*
- Oct. 28 -- Youngstown State*,
- Nov. 4 -- SMS*
- Nov. 11 -- at Indiana State*
assistant athletics director, media relations,