The Montana State University-Northern football team has played a game or two in August before, but not one with as much meaning as the one the Lights will play in 2012.
Northern recently released its finalized schedule for the upcoming 2012 Frontier Conference football season, and the season-opener is as big as it gets.
The Lights will open the season on Friday, Aug. 24 with a night game against the 2011 NAIA runner-
up and six-time NAIA national champion Carroll College. The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at Blue Pony Stadium.
While Carroll will accommodate the nighttime start and Friday game, Northern accommodated the Saints by moving the game up one week. The game was originally slated for Sept. 1 in Havre, but earlier in the spring, Carroll signed a deal to travel to Big Sky Conference powerhouse Portland State on Sept. 1. The Saints will be the Vikings’ season-opener for the 2012 season and play at the newly renovated Jeld-Wen Stadium in Portland.
For the fourth straight season, the Lights will play a Frontier-only schedule, and of course it’s a new schedule as Dickinson State University and Southern Oregon join the Frontier this fall.
MSU-N will have five home games and five away games, and the Lights will play East Division rivals Carroll, DSU and Rocky Mountain College twice. MSU-N will now only play Western Division foes Montana Tech, UM-Western, Eastern Oregon and SOU once per season, and those games will alternate home and away. Another stipulation to the schedule is that no East Division team will make the trip to Oregon twice in the same season.
After the opener against the Saints, the Lights will have a bye week and won’t be home again until Sept. 22. Northern travels to Eastern Oregon on Sept. 8 and will play at DSU on Sept. 15. It will be Northern’s first trip to Dickinson since 2007 when the Lights and Blue Hawks still played each other as a nonconference opponent.
Northern then has three straight home games, mixed in with another bye week. The Lights host Western on Sept. 22 and RMC on Sept. 29. The game against the Battlin’ Bears will also be Northern’s Homecoming Game. MSU-N then finishes up the home stand with a game against new league member Southern Oregon on Oct. 13 in Havre.
The final portion of the Lights’ schedule is tough, with four of their last five games on the road. Northern visits Carroll on Oct. 20 and Montana Tech on Oct. 27. The Lights then close out their home schedule with DSU on Nov. 3 before finishing the regular season on the road at RMC on Nov. 10 in Billings.
2012 Lights' Football
Aug. 24 vs Carroll 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Eastern Oregon 1 p.m. (P.S.T.)
Sept. 15 at Dickinson State 1 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs UM-Western 1 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs Rocky Mountain 1 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs Southern Oregon 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Carroll 1 p.m.
Oct. 27 at Montana Tech 1 p.m.
Nov. 3 vs Dickinson State 12 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Rocky Mountain 12 p.m.