Charleston, IL (Sports Network) - Dino Babers' first game as Eastern Illinois' football coach will be against rival Southern Illinois and the Panthers will play five home games as part of an 11-game schedule announced Monday.
Eastern Illinois will kick off the Babers era at home at O'Brien Field on Thursday night, Aug. 30. The Panthers fell to the Salukis, 45-28, in their final game of a 2-9 season last year.
Babers is the Panthers' 22nd head coach, replacing Bob Spoo, who retired after 25 years at Eastern Illinos.
"I don't think you can replace him. I think what you can do is you can try to build on what he had started here," Babers said.
The Panthers' other home games will be against Ohio Valley Conference opponents Murray State (Sept. 22), Austin Peay (Sept. 29), Jacksonville State (Oct. 13) on Homecoming and Southeast Missouri State (Nov. 10).
The Panthers will travel to Western Michigan from the Mid-American Conference on Sept. 8 and play two other non-conference games, at Illinois State (Sept. 15) and Central Arkansas (Nov. 17).
Within the OVC, Eastern Illinois will travel to UT Martin (Oct. 6), Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 27) and Tennessee Tech (Nov. 3).
2012 Eastern Illinois Football Schedule
All Times ET
Thursday, Aug. 30, Southern Illinois, O'Brien Field, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8, at Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, Mich., TBA
Saturday, Sept. 15, at Illinois State, Normal, Ill., TBA