By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The EKU football team’s season opener is still more than a month away, but this year’s schedule provides what could be some very interesting storylines.
The road to a record 22nd Ohio Valley Conference championship won’t be quite as long this season — literally — for the Colonels.
EKU will play nine of its 12 games in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Colonels have six home games — Robert Morris (Aug. 29), Coastal Carolina (Sept. 14), Austin Peay (Oct. 5), Tennessee State (Nov. 2), UT-Martin (Nov. 16) and Tennessee Tech (Oct. 19) — and are scheduled to play games at Morehead State (Sept. 21), Murray State (Nov. 23) and Louisville (Sept. 7).
EKU will make just three out-of-state trips, but they are all quite lengthy. The Colonels are set to travel to Southeast Missouri (350 miles — Oct. 26), Jacksonville State (367 miles — Nov. 9) and Eastern Illinois (339 miles — Sept. 28).
Still, the Colonels won’t be logging as many miles on the bus this season as they have in recent years.
Last season, EKU’s approximate travel distance to six road games was just short of 4,000 miles.
This season, the estimated travel distance to six road games is just more than 3,000 miles.
EKU is set to play its first four games inside the state and will play only one out-of-state game through the ninth week of the season.
This year marks the first time EKU has not played a game in Tennessee since 1993. All four of the OVC’s Tennessee-based teams come to Roy Kidd Stadium this season — Tennessee State, Austin Peay, UT-Martin and Tennessee Tech.
The Colonels have not played at Morehead State since 1993.
EKU has dominated the all-time series with the Eagles, posting a 50-16-4 record. The Colonels have not lost to Morehead State since 1990.
EKU will wrap up the regular season on Nov. 23 with a trip to Murray State. The Colonels have had a good deal of success on the road recently against the Racers.
EKU has won six straight at Murray State, with the last loss coming in 1999.
The Colonels have played Southeast Missouri State every year since the school joined the OVC (1991). But, the Oct. 26 game in Cape Girardeau, Mo., will mark the first time the Colonels have ever made trips to SEMO in consecutive years.
EKU defeated the Redhawks 31-7 last year on the road.
The Colonels will play 12 regular-season games for the first time since 2003 and they will open the season at home on a Thursday night for the first time since 1993.
The season opener will mark EKU’s first-ever meeting with Robert Morris.
Louisville leads the all-time series with the Colonels 17-8-1, including a 23-13 win in 2010 at Papa John’s Stadium.
However, EKU’s last win over an FBS (formerly I-A) school came in 1985, against Louisville.