NATCHITOCHES – An Independence Stadium collision with Grambling and a season-opening trip to FCS power Montana, along with another intersectional FCS contest at Eastern Illinois, lay ahead this fall for the Northwestern State football team.
The Demons’ 2022 schedule announced Monday also includes the annual rivalry matchup with McNeese shifting to the last playing date (Nov. 19), replacing the former season-ender with departed Southland Conference member Stephen F. Austin.
The Sept. 3 game at Montana, a perennial playoff participant, returns NSU to Missoula for the first time since FCS playoff visits in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
It’s the first of five non-conference games for the Demons.
None will be more high-profile than squaring off against Grambling at Independence Stadium on Sept. 10.
“We are excited about all 11 opportunities to take the field this fall,” said head coach Brad Laird, who begins his fifth season in charge of his alma mater. “Going to Montana will give our team a unique way to start the season. We also are looking forward to playing Grambling and having our fans in Shreveport-Bossier cheering the Demons in their backyard.”
NSU then faces new Sun Belt Conference member Southern Miss, its lone FBS opponent, in Hattiesburg on Sept. 17 before opening its four-game Turpin Stadium slate by hosting Southeastern on Sept. 24.
The SLU contest is the first of back-to-back Southland Conference home games and the first of two matchups with the Lions, FCS playoff entries last fall. NSU travels to Hammond on Nov. 12 for the back half of the season series.
The Demons’ trip to Eastern Illinois for an Oct. 8 game is one of two contests against Ohio Valley Conference teams as part of a new scheduling alliance between the leagues. Northwestern State’s other OVC foe is 2021 FCS playoff participant Southeast Missouri, likely NSU’s homecoming contest on Oct. 22.
The first meeting between the Demons and SEMO in school history also marks the end of a stretch of eight games in eight weeks.
NSU’s 2022 schedule (Southland Conference games indicated by asterisk*): Sept. 3 at Montana, Sept. 10 vs. Grambling in Shreveport, Sept. 17 at Southern Miss, Sept. 24 home vs. Southeastern*, Oct. 1 home vs. Nicholls*, Oct. 8 at Eastern Illinois, Oct. 15 at Houston Baptist*, Oct. 22 home vs. Southeast Missouri, Oct. 29 open date, Nov. 5 at Texas A&M Commerce*, Nov. 12 at Southeastern*, Nov. 19 home vs. McNeese*.
Photo: by CHRIS REICH/NSU