MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Morehead State football program will play seven home games in 2013. The slate includes a date with Eastern Kentucky at Jayne Stadium, plus home contests against defending Pioneer Football League tri-champions Butler and San Diego.
“This schedule is the most difficult we’ve had in my 13 seasons at Morehead State, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Head Coach Rob Tenyer said. “We’re excited about the opportunity to play seven games at Jayne Stadium. We led the Pioneer Football League in 2012 attendance, and I hope we’re able to do that again in 2013.”
Morehead State opens the season on Aug. 29 when it entertains NAIA opponent Pikeville (Ky.). The Eagles then make a trip to Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent Youngstown State on Sept. 7, before opening conference play at Jacksonville on Sept. 14.
“Our non-conference slate will certainly test our young men,” Tenyer said. “Youngstown State is one of the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision programs, but we’re excited about the opportunity to play such a quality opponent. They defeated Big East Conference foe Pittsburgh last year, so that puts our challenge in perspective.”
Morehead State welcomes Eastern Kentucky to Jayne Stadium on Sept. 21. MSU and EKU squared off routinely when the Eagles played football in the Ohio Valley Conference and do battle in virtually every other sport. It will be the 70th all-time meeting between the two schools in football.
“I know our fans are excited about the EKU game, especially with it being at home this year,” Tenyer said. “The two schools are OVC rivals and we are looking forward to the match-up in football, as well. Last year’s game was very competitive (with EKU winning 24-17), and I would expect the same type of environment in 2013.”
Morehead State will host league opponents Davidson (Sept. 28), Dayton (Oct. 26), San Diego (Nov. 9) and Butler (Nov. 16) this fall, while travelling to Jacksonville (Sept. 14), Campbell (Oct. 5), Valparaiso (Oct. 19) and Drake (Nov. 2) in conference action.
Morehead State will wrap up the campaign on Nov. 23 with a non-conference tilt against Charlotte. This is the inaugural football season for the 49ers, who are a scholarship program and will compete as an FCS Independent in 2013.
“It’s great to have our final three games at home,” Tenyer said. “San Diego and Butler both earned a share of the 2012 PFL championship, so the end of our conference schedule will be very difficult. We then play Charlotte, a new FCS program with scholarship players, which will provide a stiff test for us in the regular-season finale.”
Morehead State finished 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the PFL last season. The Eagles averaged nearly 63 points in their four victories. MSU also led the league in points (38.4), total yards (471.5), passing yards (305.4) and third-down conversions (51 percent).
Linebackers Jordan Hendrix (11.2) and Dillion Blackburn (10.7), who were both sophomores in 2012, ranked first and third among conference players in tackles per game.
The Eagles welcome a new era with the promotion of Tenyer, who served as an assistant coach the past 12 seasons. The past two years, with Tenyer as offensive coordinator, MSU set 29 school records and led the PFL in points, total yards and passing yards.
“The stakes are pretty high this season, with the PFL’s champion now getting an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs,” Tenyer added. “It’s an exciting time for Morehead State football and every school in our league. We will have to be ready from the very beginning of the season, because each week will be an important step toward our ultimate goal.”