Starting with the 2018 season, the longstanding football rivalry between Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois will be deemed "War for the Wheel." The non-conference rivals, separated by just 45 miles, meet in Carbondale on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.
Each year, the winner of the game will take home an authentic ship's wheel to its side of the Mississippi River and proudly display it until the next scheduled matchup. The wheel currently resides in Carbondale since SIU won last year's meeting between the teams.
When the series first began, SEMO and SIU used to cross the Mississippi River by boat. One year, SIU's boat sank and players had to swim to shore.
"This is a fun way to celebrate the longtime football rivalry between SEMO and SIU," said Redhawks head coach Tom Matukewicz. "These schools have a lot of history and tradition, and I think the War for the Wheel makes the rivalry more special for fans on both sides of the Mississippi River."
"This matchup has evolved into a spirited rivalry over the years, including the first-ever college football game at Busch Stadium in 2013," added SIU head coach Nick Hill. "Creating a 'trophy' to play for just adds to the excitement."
The SEMO and SIU football rivalry is the oldest in each school's history. The Redhawks hold a 40-37-8 lead in the all-time series which dates back to 1909.
The Redhawks Football team opens the season tomorrow at Arkansas State in Jonesboro. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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