Cedar City • Southern Utah will play the first 12-game football schedule in its history in 2013, the school announced Thursday.
SUU opens the season at South Alabama on Aug. 29 one of two Football Bowl Subdivision opponents it will face. The other is Washington State, where the Thunderbirds will play Sept. 14.
Southern Utah opens its home season Sept. 7 against Fort Lewis College and new coach John L. Smith. He was the head coach at Weber State a year ago before abruptly quitting to become the interim coach at Arkansas.
Smith was not retained by Arkansas. In January, he was named the new coach at Fort Lewis, which went 0-10 last season.
Southern Utah also plays eight Big Sky Conference opponents and a game against Sacramento State, which won't count in the league standings.
The Thunderbirds open Big Sky play Sept. 28 at Northern Colorado. Their conference opener is Oct. 12 against UC-Davis.
Southern Utah plays Weber State in Ogden on Nov. 9. The season concludes at home against Northern Arizona on Nov. 23.
SUU finished 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Big Sky last season its first as a member of the league. Southern Utah's 2013 football schedule:
Aug. 29at South Alabama
Sept. 7vs. Fort Lewis
Sept. 14vs. Washington State
Sept. 21at Sacramento State
Sept. 28at Northern Colorado.
Oct. 5vs. UC-Davis
Oct. 12Portland State
Oct. 19at Eastern Washington
Oct. 26vs. Idaho State.
Nov. 9at Weber State
Nov. 16at Montana State
Nov. 23Northern Arizona