Football Championship Subdivision power Eastern Washington is slated to play at least 17 games in 2021.
Weeks after releasing a rare six-game spring football schedule due to a postponed fall season, Eastern Washington was among the first Big Sky Conference schools to announce its full 2021 fall schedule on Wednesday.
EWU will start with three nonconference foes in road games at UNLV and Western Illinois and a home opener against NCAA Division II Central Washington.
The Eagles face UNLV, a Football Bowl Subdivision team that recently finished 0-6 in its truncated Mountain West Conference schedule, at the new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sept 2.
Missouri Valley Conference member and fellow FCS program Western Illinois, which went 1-11 in its previous season in 2019, was slated to face the Eagles in Cheney in 2020 before the game was canceled. The Eagles will now face the Leathernecks in Macomb, Illinois, on Sept. 18.
NCAA Division II postseason regular Central Washington makes the trip to Cheney on Sept. 9, three years after EWU handled the Wildcats 58-13 at Roos Field.
EWU, which has played an eight-game Big Sky schedule in recent seasons, opens conference play against Portland State on Sept. 25 at home before making the trek to Bozeman to face 2019 FCS semifinalist Montana State on Oct. 9.
Southern Utah – which may leave the Big Sky for the Western Athletic Conference, according to reports – visits EWU on Oct. 16.
The Eagles then travel to Cal Poly (Oct. 23) and rival Idaho (Oct. 30) before hosting 2019 Big Sky Conference co-champion Sacramento State (Nov. 6).
EWU finishes the regular season at Northern Arizona (Nov. 13) before hosting Idaho State (Nov. 20).
Portland State (5-7), Southern Utah (3-9), Cal Poly (3-8), Idaho (5-7), Northern Arizona (4-8) and Idaho State (3-9) each had losing seasons in 2019. EWU went 7-5 and missed the FCS playoffs.
Rival and 2019 FCS quarterfinalist Montana is not on the fall schedule. The Eagles also won’t face three-time defending Big Sky champion Weber State.
EWU, ranked as high as No. 18 in preseason polls before the coronavirus pandemic shelved the fall 2020 season, is also looking forward to its spring season. Practice begins in late January.
EWU’s six-game slate includes a season opener at Portland State (Feb. 27), and home games with back-to-back rivals Montana (March 6) and Idaho (March 13).
Montana State hosts EWU (April 3) before the Eagles the season with two California schools: a road game at UC Davis (March 13) and a regular season finale against Cal Poly (April 10) at Roos Field, the return of ex-EWU head coach Beau Baldwin.
Local and state health ordinances in the areas of each school will determine stadium capacities for fans. Spokane County is currently in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, which forbids large groups.
The spring FCS playoffs, cut to 16 teams from the original 24, are scheduled to begin April 24.
The national title game is slated for May 15 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.