EUREKA, Ill. — The 2020 Eureka College football schedule has been set, and the season will begin with the ninth annual Lincoln Bowl at Knox on Sept. 5 at 1 p.m.
EC released the full schedule for the 2020 campaign on Friday morning, spiking anticipation for the next chapter in the storied history of Red Devil football.
This fall will be EC's third season in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Athletic Conference and 117th of collegiate football overall.
It will also be EC coach Kurt Barth's 12th at the helm of the program.
The winningest head coach in Eureka football history, Barth has been the architect of a program that has soared to new heights, including a return to the national postseason for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, back-to-back conference titles in 2017 and 2018 and an unprecedented renovation of McKinzie Field.
"We are excited for the 2020 season," Barth said. "Our guys have been working hard and are eager to get back out and compete. As our program continues to grow with this recruiting class, we are looking forward to August and getting our entire team on campus."
Last season, the Red Devils tallied their fourth straight winning season after going 6-4 on the year and 4-3 in league play. The four-year players left the program as its winningest class, posting a record of 31-11 with two conference titles.
Now, the boys in maroon and gold are eager to work their way back to the postseason.
This season, like the two that came before, will consist of five home games and five away games, and open with three non-conference contests before the seven-game NACC slate begins in October.
On Sept. 5, EC will vie for its seventh win against Knox since the series was rebranded as the Lincoln Bowl in 2012.
Last year, the Red Devils were tied with Knox at 14-14 at halftime on Saturday, but the maroon and gold outscored the Prairie Fire 28-14 in the second half to seal a 42-28 season-opening victory under the lights of McKinzie Field. Knox, however, still leads the all-time series 18-11-1.
In Week 2, EC will head to MacMurray to continue a rivalry that dates back to 1985. The Red Devils have taken three straight over the Highlanders, but MacMurray owns a 20-14 advantage in the all-time series.
Eureka will host its first home game of the year on Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. when EC faces Olivet for the first time ever at McKinzie Field. The matchup will represent EC's annual crossover game against a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
And after a bye week, the Red Devils will host Benedictine on Oct. 3 in a 6 p.m. matchup to kick off the NACC season. Benedictine got the edge over the Red Devils, 17-14, in the pouring rain last season.
On Oct. 10, EC will head to Concordia Wisconsin to take on the Falcons, who the Red Devils shut out 24-0 last season on Senior Day.
The Red Devils will then welcome 2019 NACC champion Aurora for a night-game showdown on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m., before hosting Wisconsin Lutheran for this year's annual homecoming game at 4 p.m. on Oct. 24. When EC and WLC squared off last year, Eureka claimed a 26-20 road win in overtime.
With the following weeks come a pair of enticing rematches from last season.
First, the Red Devils will look to redeem 2019's one-point homecoming loss to Concordia Chicago on Oct. 31, 2020. Then, on Nov. 7, they'll look to follow up last season's 50-49 triumph over Lakeland — the team's first win over the Muskies since 1995. Both games are on the road.
EC will conclude the 2020 regular season at home with a senior-day contest against Rockford on Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. Eureka has taken three of four meetings between the teams, including last year's 38-28 regular-season finale on the road.
The Red Devils plan to return 16 total starters from last year's squad.
2020 Eureka Football Schedule
Sept. 5, at Knox, 1 p.m.
Sept. 12, at MacMurray, 1 p.m.
Sept. 19, vs. Olivet, 1 p.m.
Oct. 3, vs. Benedictine, 6 p.m.
Oct. 10, at Concordia Wisconsin, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17, vs. Aurora, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24, vs. Wisconsin Lutheran, 4 p.m.
Oct. 31, at Concordia Chicago, 1 p.m.
Nov. 7, at Lakeland, 1 p.m.
Nov. 14, vs. Rockford, 1 p.m.