NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release) - Stephen F. Austin head football coach Clint Conque today released the Lumberjacks' 2017 football schedule. The 'Jacks will play nine of their 11 games on Texas soil, five of which will be at Homer Bryce Stadium, along with non-conference foes SMU and Southern Utah and rival Lamar reappearing on the schedule after a three-year hiatus.
"We're very excited to have such a heavy Texas schedule next year, especially playing in our two largest alumni bases of Dallas and Houston," Conque said. "It will be good to open the season against another strong foe in SMU, then welcome Southern Utah out of the Big Sky to Nacogdoches for an early season test against a formidable foe. It is shaping up to be a great challenge for our program, especially with bringing Lamar back into the mix, but we're excited for the opportunities."
SFA opens the year at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas on September 2nd, facing SMU out of the American Athletic Conference. It will be the third overall meeting between the two programs with the Mustangs edging out the Lumberjacks 31-23 in 2009, followed by a 52-0 win in 2012.
The Lumberjacks then open their five-game home schedule on September 9th, welcoming Southern Utah to Homer Bryce Stadium. The 'Jacks and Thunderbirds have met four times previously with SFA holding a 3-1 lead in the all-time series and is 2-0 all-time in Nacogdoches, defeating SUU 52-6 in 2002 and 24-21 in 2004. SFA will make a return trip to Cedar City, Utah, in 2019.
SFA then jumps right into its nine-game Southland Conference schedule, beginning with a home contest against Incarnate Word on September 16th. The 'Jacks then head west to Abilene to take on SLC foe Abilene Christian, playing in one of the first games in the brand new Wildcat Stadium, slated to open in 2017.
The Lumberjacks close out a busy September with its fifth game of the month, hosting McNeese on September 30th at Homer Bryce Stadium. The game against the Cowboys will mark Parents Weekend for 2017, the third time the two rivals will meet on the date.
October opens with a challenging stretch for SFA as the Lumberjacks will face both the reigning SLC champion and runner-up away from Homer Bryce. The 92nd Battle of the Piney Woods will once again be held at NRG Stadium in Houston with SFA and Sam Houston State renewing their rivalry on October 7th. The following week, the Lumberjacks will make their first trip outside of the state of Texas, hitting the road to Conway, Arkansas, for a showdown with Central Arkansas on "The Stripes" on October 14th.
Houston Baptist will serve as SFA's 2017 Homecoming opponent as the Lumberjacks and Huskies meet on October 21st, kicking at 3 p.m. The 'Jacks will then renew their rivalry with Lamar in Beaumont on October 28th as the Cardinals appear on the schedule for the first time since 2013.
Following its bye week on November 4th, SFA closes out the 2017 schedule with a pair of Louisiana foes. The 2017 home finale takes place on November 11th when the Lumberjacks welcome Nicholls to Homer Bryce Stadium. The final game of the season takes SFA outside of Texas for the second time all season, making the short trip to Natchitoches, Louisiana, for the annual Battle for Chief Caddo with rival Northwestern State on November 18th.
SFA is looking to build on its 5-6 result in 2016 as coach Conque returns a handful of key components, including first team All-SLC defensive end John Franklin. Second team All-SLC honorees OL Josh Keith and WR/PR Trae Hart will also return with honorable mention selections WR Tamrick Pace, WR Kiki Hill and S Alize Ward looking to lead the 'Jacks into 2017.