Southern Illinois and SE Miss State to play first football game in Busch Stadium

St. Louis Cardinals honor Stan Musial during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to take a page out of their NL Central rivals, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs’ iconic home stadium, Wrigley Field, played host to a Northwestern vs. Illinois college football game, and is planning on hosting several more Wildcats’ contests.

For the first time ever, the Cards’ Busch Stadium will host a college football game themselves: The 81st meeting between the Southern Illinois Salukies and Southeast Missouri State will kick off on September 21 in the St. Louis baseball stadium, according to

“We are thrilled to host our first football game in Busch Stadium with two great schools that have such a large following in St. Louis,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. “We are excited to showcase the versatility of Busch Stadium as a multi-use venue ideally suited for special football games like this historic game between two longstanding rivals.”

Most around the country might read ‘Southern Illinois’ and think Chicago, but that is actually a misconception. The school’s Carbondale campus is roughly a six-hour drive south of Chi-town but only about two hours from St. Louis. Thus, most fans that far south of the city are St. Louis Cardinals and Rams fans, rather than Cubs, White Sox, or Bears supporters.

“Southern Illinois is definitely Cardinals’ country, so this is a great fit for our University and football program,” said Rita Cheng, Chancellor of Southern Illinois University. “It will be a great experience for our student-athletes and for our fans on both sides of the river.”

Tickets for the 1 p.m. kickoff to the historic game go on sale on June 3.

While the teams themselves are not exactly the same draw as an Alabama or a Texas, any unique game day experience is one we here at Gamedayr love to be a part of (heck, it’s in our name).

The President of SEMSU is pretty pumped himself. Of course, by ‘pumped’ we mean cordial and polite. We’ll leave the beer-bonging in the St. Loo parking lot to the students on both sides of this rivalry.

“We’d like to thank the St. Louis Cardinals for the opportunity to play this game at Busch Stadium,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, President of Southeast Missouri State University. “Nearly 40 percent of this year’s freshmen class at Southeast is from the greater St. Louis region, and playing this game at Busch Stadium is exciting for all our students, and great exposure for our University and the Redhawk football program.”

More great scheduling: Florida State will host Notre Dame in 2014
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