The 2019-20 football schedule has been released, and it includes five home games for Eastern Michigan.
The season will kick off Aug. 31 at Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers went 5-7 last season, and this is the first of two games against Coastal Carolina over the next two years. Eastern Michigan will stay on the road for the next two games as well, traveling to Lexington to face Kentucky out of the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky went 10-3 last year and defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. In Week 3, the Eagles will take on another major conference foe in Illinois.
The Fighting Illini will host EMU Sept. 14. The following week, the Eagles will return to Ypsilanti for their first home game of the season inside of Rynearson Stadium against Central Connecticut State. Eastern Michigan was 4-2 at home last season. Then EMU will go back on the road for its first conference game of the year, facing rival Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant Oct. 5.
“I’m really excited about Kentucky and Illinois,” Mikey Haney, a freshman defensive line, said. “The atmosphere of power-five competition will be live and loud. It will also be a great opportunity to ‘upset’ two power-five teams in the same year. I expect us to game plan for both teams in depth and really show the nation what we are all about. We are here to compete and win every game.”
Homecoming will take place the next Saturday on Oct. 12 as Eastern Michigan welcomes Ball State. Eastern defeated the Cardinals 42-20 last season on the road. Last time Ball State came to Ypsilanti, the Eagles won 56-14. Eastern will be looking to take down Ball State for the fourth consecutive time. The Eagles will stay at home the next weekend as they host rival Western Michigan. The Broncos won last year’s matchup 27-24.
Eastern Michigan will head back on the road Oct. 26 to face the Toledo Rockets. Toledo is coming off a 7-6 campaign, in which it lost by two points to Eastern. After that, the Eagles have a home game against Buffalo before two road outings versus Akron and Northern Illinois. The Bulls were one of the most prolific teams in the Mid-American Conference last year, going 10-2 in the regular season before going down to Northern Illinois in the conference championship game.
The matchups with Akron and Northern Illinois will both take place on a Tuesday. The regular season will come to a close Friday, Nov. 29 against Kent State at Rynearson Stadium. This will be senior day for the Eagles. If Eastern Michigan reaches the MAC championship game, it will be Saturday, Dec. 7 at Ford Field in Detroit.
“We are going to take one conference game at a time,” Haney said. “As long as we take care of business and stay on track to what we are capable of doing, we can earn a spot in that MAC title game at Ford Field.”