EUREKA, Ill. — On Tuesday afternoon, the Eureka College football team officially released its schedule for the 2019 campaign.
And, for the first time in program history, the Red Devils will open the season with back-to-back night games on its home turf.
The action will begin with the eighth annual Lincoln Bowl against Knox under the lights of McKinzie Field on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The following weekend, the Red Devils will host longtime in-state rival MacMurray on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.
This fall will be EC's second season in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference and 116th of collegiate football.
The Red Devils are eager to follow up their second straight trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs after capturing the conference crown in their NACC debut in 2018 and winning the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference in 2017. The team has compiled a 25-7 record in the past three seasons.
"We have had a great season so far with our current guys as well as our recruiting class," 11th-year EC coach Kurt Barth said. "We are excited about the opportunities that await us this fall."
This season will consist of five home games and five away games, and open with three non-conference contests before the seven-game NACC slate begins in October.
In the season-opening Lincoln Bowl, Eureka will seeks its sixth win against Knox since the series was renamed in 2012. Last year, EC delivered its most lopsided victory in Lincoln Bowl history with a 49-24 win over the Prairie Fire, but Knox still leads the all-time series 18-10-1.
In Week 2, the Red Devils will renew a rivalry against MacMurray that last year was interrupted for the first time since 1985, ending the team's longest active streak against any opponent. EC has won the past two contests against the Highlanders, while MacMurray leads the all-time series 20-13.
The Red Devils' first road game of the year will take place in Albion, Mich., on Sept. 14, when the Red Devils take on Albion for the first time in program history. The matchup will represent EC's annual crossover game against a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as a part of the NACC's scheduling agreement with the MIAA.
After a bye week, the NACC season finally begins at Aurora on Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. In 2018, EC earned its first win over Aurora since 1946 with a 31-28 victory.
EC will then travel to Wisconsin Lutheran for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Oct. 12. The Red Devils defeated WLC 54-35 in last year's homecoming game in the teams' first-ever meeting.
On Oct. 19, Eureka will welcome Concordia Chicago to McKinzie Field for this year's annual homecoming game. Kickoff time is has been set for 4 p.m. Eureka's 24 all-time victories over Concordia Chicago are the most against any opponent in program history.
The team will then play at Benedictine in the Red Devils' first game in Lisle since 2011 on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m., before hosting back-to-back home games against Lakeland and Concordia Wisconsin on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9, respectively. Both kickoff times are yet to be determined.
EC has played Lakeland – the only team to beat the Red Devils in the regular season last year – 46 times, the second-most against any opponent in program history.
Last year, the Red Devils earned their first win over Concordia Wisconsin since 1995 with a dramatic 48-45 victory that snapped a 12-game losing streak in the series. This year's contest will be EC's annual Senior Day.
Eureka will close out the regular season at Rockford on Oct. 9 at 12 p.m. The Red Devils have taken two of the three meetings between the teams, including a 38-7 triumph that locked up the outright conference championship and an automatic playoff bid last November.
The Red Devils plan to return 16 starters from last year's 9-2 team.
2019 Eureka Football Schedule (Start times subject to change)
Sept. 7, vs. Knox, 6 p.m.
Sept. 14, vs. MacMurray, 6 p.m.
Sept. 21, at Albion, Noon
Oct. 5, at Aurora, 1 p.m.
Oct. 12, at Wisconsin Lutheran, 4 p.m.
Oct. 19, vs. Concordia Chicago, TBA
Oct. 26, at Benedictine, 1 p.m.
Nov. 2, vs. Lakeland TBA
Nov. 9, vs. Concordia Wisconsin, TBA
Nov. 16, at Rockford, Noon