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Eastern Washington adds season-opener against Tennessee State to 2022 football schedule

Eastern Washington Eagles head coach Aaron Best calls plays during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, Oct 2, 2021, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

With two FBS teams already on its 2022 football schedule, Eastern Washington announced on Thursday a season-opening home game with Tennessee State, rounding out the Eagles’ fall slate.

By scheduling the fellow FCS school, Eastern has an 11-game schedule composed entirely of Division I opponents. Tennessee State finished 5-6 overall last season and 3-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The programs have never played football against each other.

What follows that Sept. 3 game is a gantlet of a start for the Eagles, who are coming off a 10-3 record and second-round playoff appearance last fall. In Week 2, they will head to Oregon to play the reigning Pac-12 North champions on Sept. 10.

Then, after a scheduled bye week, the Eagles will host FCS runner-up Montana State in Eastern’s Big Sky opener, followed by a nonconference game at Florida on Oct. 1. The game against the Gators, rescheduled from the fall of 2020, will be Eastern’s first against an SEC team.

Eastern Washington will receive payouts of $635,000 from Oregon and $750,000 from Florida for the two FBS games on its schedule this season, according to the EWU athletic department.

Following the game with the Gators, Eastern will play at Weber State on Oct. 8 before hosting Sacramento State on Oct. 15. The Eagles are scheduled to close out the regular season with road games at Cal Poly, Idaho and Montana, as well as home games against Portland State and Northern Colorado.

That gives the Eagles five games at Roos Field. Season-ticket renewals for Eastern Washington’s 2022 season will begin on April 11.

With the departure of Southern Utah from the Big Sky after the 2021-22 season, the conference has opted for a scheduling rotation that maintains two annual matchups for each team and then ensures that each member plays the other nine teams twice over a three-year span, once at home and once away.

Last summer, the Big Sky released its schedules for 2022 to 2024 following that formula. Eastern’s two annual opponents are Montana State and Idaho.

In conference schedules for 2025 through 2027 released on Thursday, the Big Sky kept the Vandals and Bobcats as the Eagles’ annual opponents.

Eastern is scheduled to open the 2023 season against defending FCS champion North Dakota State at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.