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Busch Stadium to Host College Football Game on September 21

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 08:  General view of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds line up for the national anthem before the Opening Day on April 8, 2013 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Jason S. PariniCorrespondent IIDecember 30, 2016

For the first time in the short history of Busch Stadium, the ballpark will play host to a college football game this fall.

Instead of the red-and-white "Redbirds," the field will be taken by the red-and-white "Redhawks" of Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO). 

SEMO will battle regional rival Southern Illinois University on September 21, the 81st meeting between the two schools. The two universities, who are situated only 45 miles apart, have been competing against each other since 1909. 

The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT.  Television rights have not been announced.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there are roughly 25,000 SEMO graduates and another 12,000 SIU graduates in the St. Louis area.

The game can be seen as a huge risk for both schools, but can also be an enormous success. Saluki Stadium, home of the Southern Illinois Salukis holds 15,000 fans. SEMO's Houck Stadium seats only 10,000.

The Busch Stadium grounds crew will certainly have their hands full for the weekend of September 21. Though the crew will have nearly a week to set up the field for Saturday's football game, the Cardinals return home on Monday night to face the Nationals.

The game is quite reminiscent of the "Arch Rivalry Game," a common football matchup between the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois. That game is typically held at the Edward Jones Dome, home of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, but hasn't occurred since 2010.

The news comes just a few weeks after Busch Stadium hosted a college baseball game between the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri. Illinois won the rivalry game, which was the third meeting between the two schools in four years. 

Both schools compete in the FCS, also known as Division I-AA. The SEMO Redhawks lead the overall series, 39-33-8. SIU has won six of the last seven games. 

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