Southeast Missouri State will play their rival Southern Illinois in the first NCAA football game at Busch Stadium on Sept. 21. “Nearly 40 percent of this year’s freshmen class at Southeast is from the greater St. Louis region, and playing this game at Busch Stadium is exciting for all our students, and great exposure for our University and the Redhawk football program,” ” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast and SIU are located just 46 miles apart from each other and have close to 40,000 local alumni in St. Louis, as well as thousands of students from the St. Louis area.
The Redhawks and Salukis were initially scheduled to play in Cape Girardeau before officials from both institutions reached an agreement with the Cardinals to move the game to Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006 as a more retro, downtown ballpark. The stadium seats 46,000, more than enough to accommodate fans from both schools. Houck Stadium seats 10,000, while Saluki Stadium has a capacity of 15,000.
“We are thrilled to host our first football game in Busch Stadium with two great schools that have such a large following in St. Louis,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. “We are excited to showcase the versatility of Busch Stadium as a multi-use venue ideally suited for special football games like this historic game between two longstanding rivals.”
Southeast has 24 players from the St. Louis area on its football roster and returning home to play in a top-notch facility with an extra media spotlight will be special. The Redhawks played three games at the old Busch Stadium as an NCAA Division II affiliate. Southeast defeated Truman State (formerly Northeast Missouri State) in 1985 and 1986, and lost to Missouri S&T (formerly Missouri-Rolla) in 1988.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., central time.
The Cardinals will be in Milwaukee that weekend, but open up their final home series the following Monday against Washington, before finishing with Chicago.