2003 Football Schedule Released

A road trip to Michigan State, the return of Marshall to Kalamazoo, and a Centennial Celebration game involving Virginia, highlight the upcoming football season for Western Michigan University. The 2003 schedule was announced today by the WMU Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Western Michigan will play six home games at Waldo Stadium in 2003. Two of the teams finished ranked in the top-25 nationally last season: Virginia (22nd A.P./25th coaches) and Marshall (19th coaches/24th A.P.). Other home games include arch-rival Central Michigan along with traditional MAC foes Bowling Green and Ball State. Division I-AA William & Mary will be a first-time opponent.

There is also the possibility of WMU hosting the Mid-American Conference Championship Game, which will be awarded to the West Division champion.

Western Michigan opens its 98th varsity season on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Michigan State. The schools last met in 1997 during coach Gary Darnell's first season at WMU.

The Broncos' home opener Sept. 6 features William & Mary on CommUniverCity Night. Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia, a 48-22 winner over No. 13 West Virginia in the Continental Bowl, visits Sept. 13 as part of WMU's Centennial Celebration.

Following a bye week on Sept. 20, Western Michigan opens its MAC schedule with a trip to Ohio Sept. 27. WMU last played in Athens during the 1997 campaign. WMU then travels to Eastern Michigan Oct. 4 before hitting a difficult stretch of games against proven competition.

The Brown & Gold host Bowling Green on Homecoming Oct. 11; travels to Northern Illinois Oct. 18 and entertains Marshall Oct. 25. The three opponents had a combined record of 28-9 last season; Marshall captured the MAC Championship and GMAC Bowl title.

Western Michigan takes a break from league action to face Connecticut Nov. 1 in the new 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in East Hartford. UConn, which begins Big East play in 2005, returns to Kalamazoo for CommUniverCity Night on Sept. 2, 2004.

The latter part of WMU's MAC schedule includes a Nov. 8 home encounter versus Ball State, followed by a visit from Central Michigan Nov. 15. The Broncos' regular season finale is slated for Nov. 22 at Toledo.

"It's another competitive, challenging schedule," said Gary Darnell. "I'm excited about the 2:00 p.m. starts at home, it gives a consistent time for our fans to identify with Bronco Football. The schedule is really in line with the University's Centennial Celebration."

Sat., Aug. 30 @ Michigan State
Sat., Sept. 6 WILLIAM & MARY CommUniverCity Night 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 13 VIRGINIA Southwest Fest/ 2:00 p.m. Centennial Celebration
Sat., Sept. 27 @ Ohio #
Sat., Oct. 4 @ Eastern Michigan #
Sat. Oct. 11 BOWLING GREEN # Homecoming 2:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 18 @ Northern Illinois #
Sat., Oct. 25 MARSHALL # Education Day/ 2:00 p.m. Family Fest
Sat., Nov. 1 @ Connecticut
Sat., Nov. 8 BALL STATE # Salute to Veterans/Military Day 2:00 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 15 CENTRAL MICHIGAN # Senior Day 2:00 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 22 @ Toledo

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