For the second straight season, the Montana State University-Northern football team will play a 10-game, conference only schedule. And it’s less than two months away.
Northern, which went 3-7 a year ago, has high hopes heading into the 2011 season, which kicks off in Havre on Sept. 3 against UM-Western. The Lights opened the 2010 season with a win at Western in Dillon.
While MSU-N’s schedule doesn’t include a nonconference opponent this season, the schedule is one of excitement, especially considering the strong team the Lights return this fall. The last time MSU-N played a nonconference game was 2009 when they defeated the University of Calgary in their season-opener in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Instead, Northern will focus on winning its season-opener this fall, which is also a Frontier Conference game. Northern and the Bulldogs are both picked to be up-and-coming teams this season.
And it will be important for the Lights to get off to a strong start. They have two of their first four games at home, including a home date with Eastern Oregon on Sept. 17, which also Northern’s homecoming weekend. After the matchup with the Mountaineers however, the Lights won’t play at Blue Pony Stadium again until Oct. 22. Northern had a different stretch last season, in which the Lights didn’t leave Havre for over a month. But this season will see them not play at home for over a month.
The upside to that long road stretch is that the Lights have a chance to finish strong on their home turf. MSU-N plays three of its last four games at home, starting with Montana Tech on Oct. 22. MSU-N finishes the regular season with Rocky Mountain College on Nov. 5 and vaunted Carroll College on Nov. 12.
Lights 2011 Schedule
Sept. 3 vs UM-Western
Sept. 10 at Montana Tech
Sept. 17 vs Eastern Oregon
Sept. 24 at Rocky Mountain
Oct. 1 at Carroll
Oct. 8 Bye Week
Oct. 15 at UM-Western
Oct. 22 vs Montana Tech
Oct. 29 at Eastern Oregon
Nov. 5 vs Rocky Mountain
Nov. 12 vs Carroll