POSTED: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 8:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 8:52pm
HAMMOND, LA — Southeastern Louisiana University released its 12-game football schedule for the highly anticipated 2013 season on Thursday, featuring six home games that includes a pair of Thursday night contests.
Southeastern, which finished 5-6 overall and 5-2 in Southland Conference action under head coach Ron Roberts, will open the season on Aug. 29 against Ohio Valley Conference member Southeast Missouri in Strawberry Stadium before playing the next three games on the road beginning with a Sept. 7 contest at Big 12 member TCU.
The Lions will travel to Brookings, S.D., to face 2012 FCS playoff participant South Dakota State on Sept. 14 before facing Southern Conference foe Samford on Sept. 21 in Birmingham, Ala. The game against Samford, coached by 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan, will be the first meeting between the schools since 1965 and is the first of a home-and-home series with the Bulldogs returning the trip to Hammond in the 2014 season.
Southeastern, which will play six home games for the first time since 2009, will return home for a pair of games beginning Oct. 5 against future Southland Conference rival University of the Incarnate Word (UIW will join the league for football beginning in the 2014 season) before officially opening SLC play against Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 12.
“The Southland Conference is always extremely competitive, there are great teams across the board and you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game,” Roberts said. “The biggest thing for us is that we’re using the non-conference games, including the month of September where we’re on the road, and we’re getting better as a football team each week. We want to make sure we’re developing players, because the bottom line is (Southland) conference play … that’s what it’s all about.”
After traveling to face Northwestern State on Oct. 19, Southeastern will return home to face Lamar on Oct. 26 in the 2013 Homecoming game. The Lions will then close out their road schedule with games at McNeese State (Nov. 2) and 2012 Southland co-champion Central Arkansas (Nov. 9).
Southeastern will play its final two regular-season games at home beginning Nov. 16 against Sam Houston State, which has played in the Division I FCS National Championship game the past two seasons. The Lions will then close out the regular-season on Nov. 21 against arch-rival Nicholls State in the annual River Bell Classic.
“It’s huge,” Roberts said of Southeastern’s home field advantage that saw its highest average of fans since 2009. “We had some great crowds last year, but we’re looking for it to get better. We need to have a packed (Strawberry) stadium each week. We need to make sure that we get out to the (Hammond) community and our students and make sure they fill the stadium up each week. When you talk about college football, it’s not just a game … it’s an event.
“We need a packed house. It helps our players feed off the energy and it’s a big home field advantage. We need to make sure Strawberry Stadium is a place that visiting teams will want to hate coming into.”
Season tickets are available by calling the Southeastern Athletic Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or 1-866-LION-TIX.