Six-game OVC/Big South schedule kicks off in October 2023 for Eastern Illinois

Eastern Illinois will open the conference portion of the 2023 Ohio Valley/Big South scheduling alliance Oct. 7 at home against UT Martin. (Photo by EIUPanthers.com)

By Barry Bottino

The 2023 Ohio Valley Conference/Big South scheduling alliance will feature two first-time opponents for Eastern Illinois and road trips to Pennsylvania and Missouri.

The six-game conference slate begins with an Oct. 7 home game against UT Martin, followed by a road trip Oct. 14 to Southeast Missouri.

The Panthers host first-time opponent Bryant on Oct. 21 before a bye week. Eastern opens November with a trip to second-year OVC member Lindenwood on Nov. 4 and a visit from Tennessee State a week later.

Eastern closes out the season with a road trip to Moon Township, Pa., to face Robert Morris, another first-time opponent.

In a press release Tuesday, the OVC said it will announce tiebreakers for the alliance’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs at a later date.

Last season, a coin flip sent Southeast Missouri to the playoffs, while co-league champion UT Martin was left out of the postseason.

The Panthers open the 2023 season on a Thursday – Aug. 31 – in Terre Haute, Ind., against regional rival Indiana State.

On Sept. 9, Eastern travels to FBS Bowling Green for a non-conference game against the Falcons. According to FBSchedules.com, EIU will receive a $350,000 guarantee for playing the game. The two schools have never met on the football field.

The Panthers’ five-game non-conference schedule will include home games against in-state rival Illinois State (Sept. 16) and McNeese (Sept. 23), along with a road trip to Louisiana for a Sept. 30 contest at Northwestern State.

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