The Southern Illinois Salukis and the Southeast Missouri Redhawks have scheduled a 2020 football matchup, both schools announced on Monday.
Southern Illinois will host Southeast Missouri at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Ill., on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. The game will kickoff at 7:00pm ET/6:00pm CT.
“We’re so excited to bring football back this fall for our players, staff and fans,” SIU Director of Athletics Liz Jarnigan said. “There have been challenges along the way, but I’m confident in the processes we have in place that we can have a safe and enjoyable evening on Oct. 23rd.”
Southern Illinois, members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and Southeast Missouri, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, were both inactive this fall due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Both schools will resume full-team practices today and their Oct. 23 contest will count towards the 2020-21 season record. Both schools plan to play their conference schedule in the spring.
“If we were going to play any game this fall, we were going to play SEMO,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “The rivalry, the uniqueness of two Division I schools with the histories of both programs that are 45 minutes away from each other. A lot of the uncertainty of these times is travel, staying in hotels, getting on planes.”
Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri first met on the gridiron in 1909 in a rivalry that is dubbed the “War for the Wheel.” Southeast Missouri defeated Southern Illinois last season, 44-26, which was the 87th meeting between the two schools.
“We have worked hard over the past several weeks to get answers to many of the questions we have had about our student-athletes’ ability to safely return to participation,” said SEMO Director of Athletics Brady Barke. “We feel we are prepared to move forward with this opportunity and are excited to give our student-athletes a chance to compete this fall.”
“This is a tremendous rivalry and I’m excited we get to play this game,” said SEMO head coach Tom Matukewicz. “There is so much history in this series and both fan bases look forward to this matchup every year. People are starving for football and we’re confident in the protocols we have in place to make a safe return to play.”