(STATS) - It won't be surprising if the average home attendance at Monmouth University football games rises for the second consecutive season this year.
Hawks fans can choose from only three games at Monmouth Stadium, with construction on a new stadium project scheduled to begin after the final home game.
As a result, the Big South Conference program will face a demanding 11-game 2016 schedule - announced Thursday - with eight matchups on the road.
Monmouth, which finished 5-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big South last season, will host only conference opponents Charleston Southern (Sept. 24) and Kennesaw State (Oct. 29) as well as Patriot League power Fordham (Oct. 1).
Charleston Southern, the defending Big South champ, and Fordham both qualified for the FCS playoffs last season.
Monmouth will have two three-game road stretches, including Lehigh (Sept. 3), Delaware State (Sept. 10) and Kent State (Sept. 17) to open the season. In Kent State, the Hawks will face an FBS opponent for only the second time.
They also will play consecutive road games at Howard (Oct. 8) and Big South members Presbyterian (Oct. 13) and Liberty (Oct. 22). Their season then wraps up with back-to-back games at Coastal Carolina (Nov. 5) and Big South member Gardner-Webb (Nov. 19).
"Our 2016 schedule is extremely demanding. The Big South schedule is challenging, and to be successful we will have to play at a very high level every week," Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan said.
The Hawks will return 13 starters (six on offense, seven on defense), including quarterback Cody Williams and All-Big South talent in Lavon Chaney (running back), Mike Basile (safety), Darnell Leslie (defensive end) and Payton Minnich (linebacker).
2016 Monmouth Schedule
Sept. 3, at Lehigh
Sept. 10, at Delaware State
Sept. 17, at Kent State
Sept. 24, Charleston Southern*
Oct. 1, Fordham
Oct. 8, at Howard
Oct. 13, at Presbyterian*
Oct. 22, at Liberty*
Oct. 29, Kennesaw State*
Nov. 5, at Coastal Carolina
Nov. 19, at Gardner-Webb*
* - Big South game