MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan announced its 2013 football schedule on Friday, revealing a challenging line-up of games that features six teams that earned bowl berths in 2012 and a contest with a FCS postseason qualifier.
The schedule also includes a match-up with a Big Ten opponent for the 15th consecutive season, road trips to ACC and Mountain West territory, and a key contest versus a BCS bowl qualifier at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
"We're excited to get our 2013 season schedule, especially as we prepare to enter our spring practice season," said head coach Dan Enos, who is in his fourth season at CMU. "We've had a great off-season and are excited to get our new freshmen on campus this summer. We have great leadership with our upperclassmen and the team has overall talent to reach our goals this fall. We are very excited about the season ahead, for both our team and our fans."
Central Michigan will kick off the 2013 season on the road, visiting Ann Arbor for a Saturday, Aug. 31 match-up with Michigan. The trip will be CMU's first to the "Big House" since 2006. The Wolverines went 8-5 last season, earning a bid to the Outback Bowl.
CMU will open its home schedule the following week when the Chippewas host New Hampshire on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Wildcats went 8-4 in 2012, advancing to the second round of the FCS Championship, and return nearly an entire offense that averaged 34.1 points per game.
CMU will then head west to face UNLV for the first time since the 1994 season when the teams met in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Chippewas and the Rebels will square off on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Central will host Toledo in its 2013 MAC opener before it embarks on a three-game road swing. The Chippewas will visit ACC foe North Carolina State (Saturday, Sept. 28) and MAC opponents Miami (Ohio) (Saturday, Oct. 5) and Ohio (Saturday, Oct. 12) in consecutive weeks.
The annual highlight of the home schedule will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19 when defending MAC champion and Orange Bowl participant Northern Illinois comes to Mount Pleasant for Homecoming.
After a 17-day lay off, CMU will return to action when it travels to battle Ball State in a mid-week game. Scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET start on Wednesday, Nov. 6, the MAC clash will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
The final regular season road game pits CMU against Western Michigan. The Chippewas and the Broncos will renew their rivalry on Saturday, Nov. 16 in Kalamazoo.
CMU closes the regular season with back-to-back home games, facing UMass on Saturday, Nov. 23 and Eastern Michigan on Friday, Nov. 29 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The regular season finale versus the Eagles will be broadcast by either ESPNU or ESPN3.
The Mid-American Conference Championship game will be held on Friday, Dec. 6 at Ford Field in Detroit and will be aired to a national television audience on ESPN2.
The Chippewas finished the 2012 campaign on a four-game winning streak, capped off by a thrilling, come-from-behind 24-21 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl victory over Western Kentucky at Ford Field in Detroit.
A total of 26 players that have starting experience return to lead Central Michigan in 2013. Included in that group are All-MAC performers Zurlon Tipton and Titus Davis, the team's leading rusher and receiver a year ago, and CMU's top two tacklers in linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton. Combine the returnees with a talented group of 17 redshirts looking to make an impact, and a top-ranked recruiting class, and the Chippewas are primed for big things in 2013.
Central Michigan will begin the quest for a MAC Championship when spring practice opens on Tuesday, March 12.
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