UNC adds Fighting Illini to 2015-16 football schedules

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 05:08 PM

North Carolina on Thursday announced a home-and-home football series with Illinois and completed its 2014 non-conference schedule.

UNC will face the Fighting Illini at Kenan Stadium on Sept. 19, 2015 and will travel to Champaign, Ill., on Sept. 10, 2016. It will be the first meeting with a Big Ten program since UNC lost at home to Wisconsin in 2005.

“This series is an opportunity to bring a quality Big Ten program to Chapel Hill, while also providing a unique travel experience for our student-athletes,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said.

UNC had been scheduled to host Minnesota earlier this month and travel to Minneapolis in 2014, but the Gophers bought their way out of that series last year.

The Tar Heels also have a home-and-home series with Ohio State that is scheduled for 2017-18, beginning at Kenan Stadium.

UNC and Illinois have faced twice, with the Tar Heels winning in 1971 in Champaign and in 1987 in Chapel Hill.

UNC also announced its non-conference opponents for 2014. The Tar Heels will open the season with its first-ever meeting against Liberty, an FCS team, on Aug. 30. The Tar Heels will then host San Diego State on Sept. 6, a rematch of their 20-13 win in the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl.

The other two non-conference games in 2014 will be at East Carolina on Sept. 20 and at Notre Dame on a date to be determined.

UNC will play only six games at Kenan Stadium in 2014, including conference matchups against N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. The ACC road games will be at Duke, Miami, Virginia and Clemson.