Longtime rivals SEMO and Southern Illinois meet this evening in the annual "War for the Wheel" matchup Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., CT at Saluki Stadium.
The Redhawks and Salukis are both ranked in the STATS FCS Preseason Top-25. The Redhawks are #25 and the Salukis are #24. This year marks the second-straight and only the third time in program history where SEMO is a Preseason Top 25 team.
Friday's game marks the only fall contest for both SEMO and SIU. The game will count toward the 2020-21 season record and be used by the selection committee when determining the proposed 16-team playoff field. The Ohio Valley Conference plans to play a seven-game spring season, followed by the FCS Playoffs.
This year is the 88th meeting between the two teams in a series that dates back to 1909 when the teams crossed the Mississippi River by boat to play. The game is now known as the "War for the Wheel" in reference to the ship's wheel trophy which goes to the winner. The wheel currently resides in Cape Girardeau after the Redhawks beat the Salukis each of the last two seasons. SEMO leads the all-time series by a count of 42-37-8.
Due to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the region, Saluki Athletics reduced attendance for Friday's football game to team families only. Previously, the department planned to seat up to 20 percent of the capacity of Saluki Stadium. However, in light of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the region, the program is further limiting attendance in order to protect the safety of the community and support regional mitigation efforts announced by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Redhawk fans can watch the game together at a free watch party held at Houck Stadium, which is open to the public. The game will be shown on the brand new state of the art videoboard as part of the Department of Athletics' NESTFLIX series, sponsored by The Bank of Missouri.
Fans who can’t make it to the watch party can can watch the season-opener on KFVS 12. The game will also air live on ESPN+. Twitter updates will be provided @SEMOfootball.