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Huntsville, TX (Sports Network) - Sam Houston State announced the addition of an Aug. 31 home game against first-year program Houston Baptist on Friday, giving the Bearkats a 12-game regular season schedule for the first time in their 97 years of football.

The game at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium will serve as the season opener for both teams.

It will give the Bearkats seven home games only one season after they played just four times on campus while advancing to the FCS national final for the second straight season. The game also pushes Houston Baptist's inaugural schedule to seven.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to play our season opener in front of our home fans," Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz said. "The support our team receives from our students and the Huntsville community has been a big factor in the program's success. Houston Baptist will be joining the Southland in football next year and were looking forward to getting the rivalry started."

2013 Sam Houston State Football Schedule

All Times ET

Aug. 31, Houston Baptist, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7, at Texas A&M, TBA

Sept. 14, Texas Southern, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21, Incarnate Word, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28, Eastern Washington, 4 p.m.

Oct. 12, Lamar* (Homecoming), 3 p.m.

Oct. 19, at McNeese State*, TBA

Oct. 26, Northwestern State*, 3 p.m.

Nov. 2, at Stephen F. Austin* (Reliant Stadium, Houston), 4 p.m.

Nov. 9, Nicholls*, 3 p.m.

Nov. 16, at Southeastern Louisiana*, TBA

Nov. 23, at Central Arkansas*, TBA

*-Southland Conference game

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