MACOMB, Ill.- On Tuesday February 5, the Western Illinois football team released its schedule for 2017. The competition level remains as of the highest in all of the FCS. Seven of the 11 games will be played on the road with only four home contests at Hanson Field in Macomb.
The Leathernecks begin their season with three straight away games including the season opener at Tennessee Tech on August 31. In week two on September 9, Western travels to Northern Arizona. The week of September 16 is the team’s only bye week followed by a trip to Coastal Carolina on September 23. Originally, Coastal Carolina agreed to a home and home series with a return trip to Macomb in 2017 but the Chanticleers transitioned to FBS so WIU agreed to go to the Myrtle Beach area for the upcoming season.
Following the non-conference portion of the schedule, Missouri Valley Football Conference play begins on September 30 playing host to former Leatherneck head football coach Bob Nielson and South Dakota.
October 7 is a tough road trip to Northern Iowa followed by another home game against Missouri State. Halfway through the season on October 21, the Leathernecks have to return to the Fargo Dome to face national powerhouse North Dakota State.
South Dakota State visits Hanson Field on October 28 but the next two weeks, Western Illinois is on the road at Illinois State then Indiana State. The regular season concludes on November 18 in Macomb versus in-state foe Southern Illinois. FCS playoffs start on November 25.
Leatherneck football is coming off a 6-5 season in 2016.