A tough docket of five home games that includes two contests against teams that qualified for postseason play in 2012 highlights the Southwest Minnesota State football team's 2013 schedule, which was released Thursday.
The Mustangs, who finished 3-7 last season in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, will host Division II playoff semifinalist Minnesota State-Mankato at 6 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Mattke Field at the Regional Event Center looking to avenge an overtime loss to the Mavericks last season.
On Nov. 2, SMSU will close out its home schedule with a game against Winona State, which won its final 10 games of last season, including the Mineral Water Bowl.
Like last season, all 11 of SMSU's games will be NSIC contests. Four of its five home games will be under the lights at Mattke Field.
The Mustangs, who will be led by fourth-year head coach Cory Sauter, open their season at home on Sept. 7 against St. Cloud State for the annual Ag Bowl game, which will kick off at 6 p.m.
SMSU alternates between home games and road games until the final two games of the season, which are both on the road. The Mustangs' first road contest is Sept. 14 against Minnesota State-Moorhead.
Sept. 7 - St. Cloud State at SMSU (Ag Bowl), 6 p.m.
Sept. 14 - SMSU at MSU-Moorhead, 1 p.m.
Sept. 20 - Minot State at SMSU, 6 p.m.
Sept. 28 - SMSU at Bemidji State, TBA
Oct. 5 - Sioux Falls at SMSU (Homecoming), 6 p.m.
Oct. 12 - SMSU at Wayne State, 6 p.m.
Oct. 19 - MSU-Mankato at SMSU, 6 p.m.
Oct. 26 - SMSU at Upper Iowa, TBA
Nov. 2 - Winona State at SMSU, 1 p.m.
Nov. 9 - SMSU at Concordia-St. Paul, TBA
Nov. 16 - SMSU at Augustana, TBA
The Mustangs play a Friday night game Sept. 20 when they kick off against Minot State at 6 p.m. at Mattke Field. It will be the Beavers' first trip to Marshall since 1996 and their first as members of the NSIC. The Mustangs play Friday due to the Regional Event Center being used for the annual "Pursuit of Excellence" regional band competition on Sept. 21. It will be the first time SMSU has played on a Friday night since hosting Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Sept. 1, 2000.
SMSU will face the conference's other Beavers, Bemidji State, Sept. 28 in Bemidji. The Mustangs are back home the following week to face the University of Sioux Falls for their homecoming game, which starts at 6 p.m. on Oct. 5. It will be the first time the Cougars have played in Marshall since 1978.
On Oct. 12, SMSU heads to Wayne, Neb., to face the Wayne State Wildcats, who the Mustangs upset last year on homecoming, 40-24. The next game is against MSU-Mankato, the defending NSIC champion, Oct. 19 in Marshall.
The Mustangs head to Fayette, Iowa for the first time since 2010 when they take on Upper Iowa on Oct. 26. SMSU then wraps up its home schedule with a 1 p.m. game against Winona State Nov. 2.
SMSU's final two games are on the road, the first on Nov. 9 against Concordia-St. Paul and the second on Nov. 16 against Augustana, which will be led by new head coach Jerry Olszewski.