The Illinois State football team will open its 2012 season at home Saturday, September 1, against Pioneer Football Conference foe Dayton at Hancock Stadium at 1 p.m.

The Redbirds posted a 7-4 record in 2011 and just missed out on making the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Led by fourth-year head coach Brock Spack, the Redbirds head into the season nationally ranked in various polls and will be looking to post their fourth-straight winning campaign under Spack.

Senior wide receiver Tyrone Walker, senior linebacker Evan Frierson, senior defensive end Nate Palmer and junior fullback Jordan Neukirch have all been named preseason All-Americans and return to help Illinois State win its first conference championship since the 1999 season and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.