CMU Announces 2008 Nonconference Schedule

MOUNT PLEASANT - A Labor Day weekend home opener and road trips to opponents from the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten highlight Central Michigan University's 2008 nonconference football schedule.

The Chippewas open the season at home against Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Aug. 28. CMU's nonconference slate also includes visits to Georgia (Sept. 6), Purdue (Sept. 20) and Indiana (Nov. 1).

"Our nonconference schedule will challenge our football team and continue to give us opportunities to compete on the national stage," said CMU head coach Butch Jones. "Eastern Illinois was a playoff team last year and most people think Georgia will be the No. 1 team in the country next season, and when you couple that with two Big Ten opponents you will be hard pressed to find a more challenging schedule."

The opener marks CMU's first matchup with Eastern Illinois since the 1999 season opener. The Chippewas claimed a 33-17 win in that contest and lead the all-time series, 21-2. CMU was 17-2 against Eastern Illinois when both schools were members of the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1951-69.

EIU finished the 2007 season 8-4 overall, falling to Southern Illinois in the opening round of the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. The Panthers have advanced to the postseason each of the last three seasons.

Central Michigan and Georgia meet for the first time on the gridiron on Sept. 6. The game marks the second time in three seasons the Chippewas will face an opponent from the SEC; CMU dropped a 45-36 decision at Kentucky in 2006.

Georgia capped an 11-2 season in 2007 with a 41-10 win over Hawai'i in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press top 25, garnering three first-place votes.

CMU travels to West Lafayette, Ind. for the second straight season for its third matchup with Purdue in 12 months. Purdue claimed both meetings last season, 45-22 in West Lafayette and 51-48 at the Motor City Bowl in Detroit. The Boilermakers, winners of all four previous meetings with CMU, finished 8-5 overall in 2007.

A road trip to Indiana on Nov. 1 closes the nonconference portion of the schedule. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series, 3-0, including a 20-13 win at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in the 2005 season opener. Indiana was 7-6 overall in 2007, its first winning season since 1994. The Hoosiers played in their first bowl game since 1993, falling to Oklahoma State, 49-33, in the Insight Bowl.

The 2008 season marks the 11th straight year CMU has played at least one Big Ten opponent. It is the fourth time during that span the Chippewas have faced two Big Ten opponents in the same season.

CMU won its second straight Mid-American Conference championship in 2007, defeating Miami, 35-10, in the conference championship game. The Chippewas finished the season 8-6 overall.

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