FHSU announces football schedule
After a year without games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fort Hays State Football team finally returns to the field this coming fall for a full 11-game slate starting on Sept. 2 at Lewis Field Stadium. Coming off an 8-3 season in 2019, the Tigers will play six of their 11 games at home in 2021.
The majority of the team retained their eligibility for the lost season in 2020 looking to build on their strong success in Chris Brown's tenure as head coach. Brown enters his 10th season at the helm and has led the Tigers to a 44-15 record over the last five seasons, including post-season game appearances in four of those seasons and at least eight wins in all five.
Recently Fort Hays State University and Fort Hays State Athletics moved back to pre-pandemic policies and procedures as masks are no longer required in facilities or at events going into the 2021 fall season. Lewis Field Stadium and all FHSU athletic facilities will be back to operating at full capacity.
The season starts with a bang on Sept. 2 as two of the top programs in the MIAA collide in Hays at 7 p.m. Northwest Missouri State, the MIAA champions in six of the last seven seasons (3 outright and 3 co-championships), will face FHSU (2017 outright and 2018 co-champion) to open the 2021 slate. Northwest Missouri State was the last team to face FHSU in Hays, a double-overtime thriller the Bearcats won 36-33 in Week 10 of the 2019 season. The Tigers took the two previous meetings with the Bearcats in Maryville (2017 and 2018) by one point each to help capture back-to-back MIAA titles.
The Tigers will welcome Lincoln University to Lewis Field Stadium for the first time since 2012 on Sept. 18. Lincoln re-joined the MIAA for football in 2019 after playing in the GLVC from 2014-18. The Tigers rolled to a 66-6 win over the Blue Tigers in 2019 in Jefferson City.
Homecoming on Oct. 2 projects as a thrilling matchup with FHSU's rival from the north, Nebraska-Kearney. The Tigers look to extend an 8-game win streak over the Lopers that dates back to 2012 (UNK's first year as members of the MIAA), though the last two contests have been decided by six or less points. Nebraska-Kearney has seen a resurgence in football over the last two full seasons played, posting five wins in 2018 and seven wins in 2019. The Lopers struggled to three or less wins in their first six years as members of the MIAA after going 10-2 in their final year with the RMAC in 2011.
The Bronchos of Central Oklahoma will travel to Hays on Oct. 16 for the last evening home game of the season. The first four home games of the season will be under the lights at Lewis Field Stadium. FHSU looks to extend a 5-game win streak against UCO dating back to 2015.
A pair of in-state rivals come calling to Hays for the final home contests of the season on Oct. 30 and Nov. 13, both at 1 pm. Emporia State will be the first of the two as the Tigers have won three straight over the Hornets in Hays. Pittsburg State will serve as the opponent on Senior Day at Lewis Field Stadium. The Gorillas dominated the series with FHSU from 1979-2011, but the Tigers have won five of the last six contests including four straight, which ties their longest win streak in the series history.
The 2021 regular season slate will be an alternating home/away format throughout which starts and ends in Hays. Road opponents in the gaps between home contests this year include Missouri Western, Missouri Southern, Washburn, Central Missouri, and Northeastern State.
FHSU 2021 football schedule
Sept. 2 vs. Northwest Missouri, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Missouri Western, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Missouri Southern, 2 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Nebraska-Kearney, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Washburn, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Central Oklahoma, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Central Missouri, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 Emporia State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Northeastern State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 13 vs. Pittsburg State, 1 p.m.