Monmouth University's Head Football Coach Kevin Callahan has announced the team's 12 game 2013 schedule, one which opens up on August 29 against No. 5 Montana State.

Also on the MU slate will be home games against Cornell and Lehigh and first-time matchups with future Big South Conference opponent Liberty and Columbia of the Ivy League. Monmouth will be an independant in 2013 before competing as a member of the Big South in 2014.

"Our 2013 schedule is the best that we have ever had," said Callahan, who enters his 21st season at the helm of the Hawks. "It includes three teams that finished 2012 ranked in the top-20, a pair of Ivy league and Patriot League opponents, and a mix of teams from our former conference that we have had good rivalries with. Joining a new conference in 2014, it was important to schedule the best possible opponents in order to prepare for the caliber of teams that we will face in the Big South."

The Hawks will open the season on Thursday, August 29 in Bozeman, Montana against the Montana State Bobcats, who finished last season ranked fifth in the country with an 11-2 record. Montana State has recorded back to back 10-win seasons en route to FCS quarterfinal appearances each of the last two years. Last year 20,000+ fans came out to Bobcat Stadium for the 2012 home opener. Monmouth has never played an opponent of the Big Sky. The highest ranked opponent Monmouth has ever played was the Joe Flacco led Delaware Blue Hens in 2007, who were ranked 12th at the time of the MU game.

Week two takes the Hawks to future Big South opponent Liberty University. The Flames won a share of their fifth Big South title last season and were ranked in the top-25 a number of times during the season. Williams Stadium, the home of Liberty Football, seats 19,200 and is one of the finest stadiums in all of FCS football.

Monmouth’s 2013 home opener comes against a familiar foe in Lehigh University. Monmouth opened the 2012 season at Lehigh and the Mountain Hawks were the 2011 home opener for the Hawks. Lehigh was 10-1 a season ago, marking its third straight 10-win season. One week later the Hawks face another Patriot League foe, Holy Cross. Monmouth will travel up to Holy Cross' Fitton Field for the first meeting between the two teams,
with the Crusaders scheduled to return the game in the future.

A quick trip into New York City awaits the Hawks in week five as Monmouth faces the Columbia Lions of the Ivy League for the first time in school history. Monmouth plays its first of six Northeast Conference teams the following week as Robert Morris comes to Kessler Field. The Colonials are the only team currently in the NEC that Monmouth has a losing record against (8-10), however last season the Hawks broke a three-game losing streak to RMU with a 26-21 win in the final game of the season.

Monmouth then heads to Loretto, Pa. on October 12 to face Saint Francis University, who defeated the Hawks for just the third time in 20 meetings in 2011. The Red Flash, along with Wagner College, are the only two teams that Monmouth has faced every season since sponsoring football in 1993. The following week Ivy League opponent Cornell visits Kessler Field in a rematch of last year's shootout which saw the two teams combine for 79 points and 1,183 yards. That game will mark the first time an Ivy League opponent has visited Kessler Field.

Monmouth's open date comes nine weeks after the team opens against Montana State on October 26. The Hawks will be on the road for three consecutive weeks following the bye against NEC teams as they visit Sacred Heart, defending conference champion Wagner and Bryant. The Hawks are 13-5 all-time against the Pioneers and 4-1 against Bryant, but will be looking to avenge last season's three-point loss to the Bulldogs. Monmouth fans will be excited that the rivalry with Wagner will continue for at least the next two seasons, with the Seahawks slated to return to Monmouth in 2014. The two teams, which have played 20 times, are tied at 10-10 with Monmouth handing Wagner its only conference loss in 2012.

The 2013 regular season wraps up against Duquesne University at home on November 23.

All times are still yet to be announced and dates are subject to change due to television scheduling.

Monmouth was 5-5 overall last year, including a 4-3 mark as a member of the Northeast Conference.

2013 Monmouth Football Schedule

Date Opponent (Conference) Place 2012 Record Series Record
8/29 Montana St. (Big Sky) Bozeman, Mont. 11-2 (NCAA Qtr finals) FIRST MEETING
9/7 Liberty (Big South) Lynchburg, Va. 6-5 (Big South Champs) FIRST MEETING
9/14 Lehigh (Patriot League) Kessler Field 10-1 4-0 Lehigh
9/21 Holy Cross (Patriot League) Worcester, Mass.  2-9 FIRST MEETING
9/28 Columbia (Ivy League) New York, N.Y.  3-7 FIRST MEETING
10/5 Robert Morris (NEC) Kessler Field  4-7 10-8 RMU
10/12 Saint Francis (NEC)  Loretto, Pa.  5-6 17-3 MU
10/19 Cornell (Ivy League)  Kessler Field  4-6 1-0 Cornell
10/26 OPEN DATE      
11/2 Sacred Heart (NEC)  Fairfield, Conn.  2-9 13-5 MU
11/9 Wagner (NEC)  Staten Island, N.Y.  9-4 (NCAA 2nd Round) 10-10 Tie
11/16 Bryant (NEC)  Smithfield, R.I.  4-7  4-1 MU
11/23 Duquesne (NEC)  Kessler Field  5-6  5-2 MU