EUREKA, Ill. – The sixth annual Abraham Lincoln Bowl and a full nine-game Upper Midwest Athletic Conference slate make up the 2017 Eureka College football schedule, released by ninth-year head coach Kurt Barth on Monday morning. The 2017 campaign will be Eureka's 114th season of intercollegiate football.
The 2017 schedule features five home games and five road games. The Red Devils will enter their ninth season as an associate member of the UMAC in 2017. EC will be in search of its first conference title after earning top-three finishes in the league standings in two of the last four seasons, including a runner-up showing a year ago.
"We've got a great group of kids returning and a solid group of incoming recruits that will join us," Barth said. "We're eager to get started in August."
Eureka will look to win the Lincoln Bowl for the fifth time when the Red Devils open the campaign versus Knox at McKinzie Field on Saturday, Sept. 2. Kickoff time has yet to be determined.
The contest versus the Prairie Fire is Eureka's only non-conference game of the season. Eureka and Knox have met in week one every season since 2012 when the in-state rivalry was renamed the Abraham Lincoln Bowl. Eureka and Knox have opened the season against each other in nine of the last 11 seasons and the Red Devils have won five of the last six.
The UMAC opener follows on Sept. 9 when EC takes its first of three trips to the state of Minnesota to square off against defending league champion Northwestern in St. Paul. Kickoff is scheduled for noon. Eureka is 2-5 all-time against the Eagles and will try to win at Reynolds Field for the first time since posting a 26-9 victory on Sept. 14, 2013.
Game three represents another trip to The North Star State when Minnesota Morris welcomes the Red Devils at noon on Sept. 16. Eureka has won four in a row over the Cougars, including consecutive wins at Big Cat Stadium on Sept. 28, 2013 (28-13) and Oct. 31, 2015 (10-7).
The first UMAC home game is scheduled for Sept. 23 against Crown at noon. The Red Devils have won five of their last six in the series with the Storm, including three straight home victories since 2011. Eureka will follow with its fourth trip to Iowa Wesleyan since 1990 on Sept. 30 for a 6 p.m. UMAC start against the Tigers. Eureka is 3-1 against IWU since becoming UMAC rivals in 2013.
The annual homecoming game is next for the Red Devils when EC hosts Westminster on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. Eureka is 4-5 against the Blue Jays since the two squads met for the first time in 2008. The Red Devils will remain at home the following week for an Oct. 14 contest against longtime rival Greenville. Eureka and Greenville have met every season since 1987. The Panthers own a 20-10 record in 30 previous matchups, but EC ended a 13-game skid in the series with last season's 27-13 win in Greenville.
An in-state trip to Jacksonville, Ill. is next for EC. The Red Devils will visit MacMurray at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21. Eureka and MC will play for the 33rd consecutive season in 2017, the Red Devils' longest active streak against any opponent. MacMurray leads the all-time series 20-12.
Eureka will host Senior Day on Oct. 28 when St. Scholastica visits for a noon kickoff. The Saints have won seven in a row over EC since 2010, including all three matchups at McKinzie Field.
Eureka will close the regular season with its third and final trip of the season to Minnesota, a Nov. 4 contest at noon at Martin Luther. Eureka is 7-1 in the all-time series with the Knights and is perfect in three previous trips to New Ulm.
The regular-season UMAC winner will represent the league in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Red Devils are in search of their first national postseason appearance since 1994 and their first-ever NCAA bid.
The Red Devils plan to return 17 starters from last season's team that went 8-2 overall and 7-2 in UMAC competition.
2017 Eureka Football Schedule (Start times subject to change)
Sept. 2, vs. Knox, TBA
Sept. 9, at Northwestern (Minn.), Noon
Sept. 16, at Minnesota Morris, Noon
Sept. 23, vs. Crown, Noon
Sept. 30, at Iowa Wesleyan, 6 p.m.
Oct. 7, vs. Westminster, 1 p.m.
Oct. 14, vs. Greenville, 1 p.m.
Oct. 21, at MacMurray, 1 p.m.
Oct. 28, vs. St. Scholastica, Noon
Nov. 4, at Martin Luther, Noon