The Youngstown State football team will play seven home regular-season games next season, including three against FCS playoff teams the Athletic Department announced on Monday. It is just the second seven-game home regular-season slate in school history.
The only other time YSU played seven regular-season home games was in 2003. Highlighting the conference portion of the slate are 2012 playoff participants North Dakota State, Illinois State and South Dakota State.
The September non-conference slate features two old acquaintances and a new, but geographically close foe.
YSU plays Dayton in the home opener on August 29 for the first time since 1977. In a twist, the Penguins have never defeated the Flyers losing all nine previous meetings, including three in Youngstown. The Flyers are coming off a 6-5 campaign in 2012 and are members of the Pioneer Football League.
The contest against the Flyers will be on a Thursday night marking the Penguins' first weekday night home tilt since 2006. It also marks the first time in seven seasons that the Guins do not open at a BCS foe.
The second game on the home slate is Sept. 7 against Morehead State, also a member of the Pioneer Football League. This marks the 15th all-time meeting between the Eagles and YSU. The Penguins hold a slight 8-6 edge in the all-time series with a 38-14 win coming in the last meeting in 1987. Both teams were members of the Ohio Valley Conference and one point in their histories.
The first-ever meeting with Duquesne is set for Sept. 21. The Dukes, from nearby Pittsburgh, are members of the Northeast Conference. Duquesne posted a 5-6 record in 2012. However, five of the six losses were by a combined total of 25 points.
The league portion of the home schedule begins against Illinois State on Oct. 12. The Penguins dropped a 35-28 contest to the Redbirds in 2012, a contest YSU led 28-7 in the second quarter. In the FCS playoffs, Illinois State won at Appalachian State, 38-37 in overtime before falling in the quarterfinals to Eastern Washington.
Western Illinois makes a visit to the Ice Castle on Oct. 19. The Penguins have beaten the Leathernecks the past two seasons and have won eight of the past nine meetings with WIU.
The final two games of the season could hold have playoff implications for all teams involved. YSU takes on North Dakota State on Nov. 16. The Penguins had to play two consecutive games against the Bison in Fargo, but will get the Bison at home in 2013. NDSU, the defending 2011 FCS Champion, has advanced to the semifinals this year.
The final contest of the regular season is against South Dakota State on Nov. 23. The Jackrabbits went 9-4 in 2012 advancing the the second round of the FCS playoffs.
YSU's conference road games are against Southern Illinois (Sept. 28), Indiana State (Oct. 5), South Dakota (Nov. 2) and UNI (Nov. 9).
YSU went 7-4 in 2012, including a 4-4 mark in the MVFC. The Penguins' victory total has increased each of the past three seasons under Head Coach Eric Wolford.
The FCS playoffs, which for the first time in history will feature 24 teams in 2013, begin on Nov. 30.
2013 Home Football Schedule
August 29 vs. Dayton
Sept. 7 vs. Morehead State
Sept. 21 vs. Duquesne
Oct. 12 vs. Illinois State
Oct. 19 vs. Western Illinois
Nov. 16 vs. North Dakota State
Nov. 23 vs. South Dakota State