By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University Head Coach Glen Fowles has announced the 2018 football schedule for the Bearcats. Willamette is set to play five games at home and four games on the road. The schedule is highlighted by a game against Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada to start the season, plus seven games against Northwest Conference competition. Also, the Bearcats will play Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, as part of the NWC-SCIAC Challenge.
Simon Fraser competes in NCAA Division II and is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All of Willamette's other opponents are members of NCAA Division III, with Occidental competing in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The game against Simon Fraser will be be the Bearcats' fourth game played in Burnaby, British Columbia. The first three games also were against Simon Fraser in 1990, 1991 and 1993. Overall the Bearcats have played Simon Fraser six times from 1989 through 1994, with WU leading the series, 4-2. Willamette has played 10 games against the University of British Columbia (1946-48, 1960-63, 1967-69), but it is not clear which games were played in Salem and which were played in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Most games for the Bearcats have been played in the continental U.S., but Willamette's game at the University of Hawaii, played one day prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, is a notable exception. Willamette lost to Hawaii, 20-6, but many Bearcat players, coaches and fans helped the U.S. protect munitions at Pearl Harbor or contributed to medical relief efforts.
Willamette will open the 2018 season at Simon Fraser on Sept. 1. The game is slated to begin at 3 p.m. (PDT).
After an open date, the Bearcats will return to action on Sept. 15 at Occidental. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PDT). The match-up is part of the NWC-SCIAC Challenge in which each NWC team will take on a SCIAC team during the season. Occidental had to cancel part of its 2017 schedule due to a low number of players on the team, compounded by injuries. The Tigers have worked to keep the program going and have committed to playing a full schedule this year.
The Bearcats will have a second open weekend following the game at Occidental. Willamette will then play its home opener on Sept. 29 against Lewis & Clark College at McCulloch Stadium starting at 4 p.m. (PDT). The late afternoon start has been chosen to avoid conflicts with the 44th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in cross country, which the Bearcats will host earlier in the day. The game against L&C will open Northwest Conference play for both teams.
Willamette will alternate road and home games the rest of the season, starting with a game against archrival Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, on Oct. 6 at 1:30 p.m. (PDT). The Bearcats will be at home on Oct. 13 to take on George Fox University at 1:30 p.m. as part of Homecoming/Family Weekend. Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Oct. 20 with kickoff set for 12:30 p.m. in Puyallup, Washington.
Up next for the Bearcats is a home game against University of Puget Sound on Oct. 27 at 1:30 p.m. (PDT). WU is slated to play at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 3. The Bearcats will host Whitworth University to close out the regular season on Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m. (PST).