(STATS) - Eastern Illinois will play five of 11 games at home as it competes for the Ohio Valley Conference title and a return trip to the FCS playoffs this year.
The Panthers are coming off a 7-5 record in coach Kim Dameron's second season at the helm, including a 7-1 OVC mark and the program's 16th appearance in the playoffs.
EIU will open the season by hosting Missouri Valley Football Conference member Western Illinois on Sept. 10 and will welcome Austin Peay (Sept. 24), Tennessee State (Oct. 8), Murray State (Oct. 22, Homecoming) and UT Martin (Nov. 5) to O'Brien Field in OVC action.
The Panthers will visit Miami of Ohio (Sept. 10) and Illinois State (Sept. 17) outside the OVC, and Southeast Missouri State (Oct. 1), Tennessee Tech (Oct. 15), defending OVC champion Jacksonville State (Oct. 29) and Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 19) in conference action.
EASTERN ILLINOIS SCHEDULE=
Sept. 1, Western Illinois
Sept. 10, at Miami (Ohio)
Sept. 17, at Illinois State
Sept. 24, Austin Peay*
Oct. 1, at Southeast Missouri State*
Oct. 8, Tennessee State*
Oct. 15, at Tennessee Tech*
Oct. 22, Murray State* (Homecoming)
Oct. 29, at Jacksonville State*
Nov. 5, UT Martin*
Nov. 19, at Eastern Kentucky*
* - Ohio Valley Conference game