"At this stage in the year, we found it very difficult to replace Marshall with a I-A opponent," Radakovich said. "We spent the last month searching, but in the end no I-A opponent was available for Sept. 13."
A possible matchup with San Jose State fell through because the Spartans' next game following the proposed game with LSU is scheduled for Sept. 18, and the Spartans did not want to have such a quick turnaround between games.
The LSU-Western Illinois contest will mark the first-ever meeting between the teams in football.
Western Illinois, who is a member of the Gateway Conference, posted an 11-2 overall mark last year and reached the second round of the I-AA playoffs before falling to eventual national champion Western Kentucky.
2003 LSU Football Schedule
Aug. 30 Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 6 at Arizona
Sept. 13 Western Illinois
Sept. 20 Georgia
Sept. 27 at Mississippi State
Oct. 11 Florida