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Football Broncos take on Illini at Ford Field

Feb. 8, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's non-conference football schedule was finalized today with the announcement that the Broncos will take on the University of Illinois Nov. 8 at Ford Field in Detroit.

In addition to Illinois, WMU has non-conference games at Nebraska, Aug. 30, and at Idaho, Sept. 13. The Broncos will be at home Sept. 20 against non-conference opponent Tennessee Tech.

WMU is officially the home team in its matchup with Illinois, marking the first time WMU will host a game in a National Football League stadium. Ford Field is the home of the NFL Detroit Lions and was the site of Super Bowl XL in 2006. It is also the annual home of the Mid-American Conference championship game and the Motor City Bowl, in which the MAC has an automatic berth.

The Illini are coming off a very successful 2007 season that saw them defeat the No. 1 team in the country, Ohio State, en route to representing the Big Ten Conference in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Illinois went 9-4 last season with a 6-2 conference record.

"We are so very excited that Ford Field, the University of Illinois and Athletic Director Ron Guenther are willing to work with us on this great opportunity to showcase Western Michigan University and our football program to our alumni and the families of our current and prospective students who call the Detroit area home," said WMU Athletics Director Kathy Beauregard.

WMU has about 40,000 alumni in Southeast Michigan and more than 8,500 students hail from that area--about one-third of WMU's total enrollment.

The contest with Illinois is the first of a two-game agreement that sees WMU traveling to Champaign in 2011. Illinois won both of the previous meetings between the two schools, in 2004 and 1935. In the 2004 contest at Champaign, Illinois needed a touchdown with 1:02 remaining to escape with a three-point win, 30-27.

Illinois is coached by Ron Zook. He and WMU head coach Bill Cubit are both entering their fourth season at the helm. Both men previously coached at the University of Florida, but missed each other by two seasons.

At least one Big Ten team has appeared on the Broncos' schedule seven of the past 10 seasons. WMU has played two Big Ten teams in a season three times during that span, including last year with games against Indiana and Iowa.

Related story
Football schedule and homecoming date announced

Media contact: Mat Kanan, (269) 387-4125, mat.kanan@wmich.edu

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