ACU Athletic Director Jeff Rutter Monday announced the schedule for the inaugural season of Arizona Christian University Firestorm football — a schedule that shows ACU playing five home games and four road games that will take the NAIA school from coast to coast and into America’s heartland.
“What a fantastic opportunity for members of this first squad to open at home and then get the chance to play college football literally across America during this inaugural season,” said Rutter. “In addition to five home games, this first team will play on the West Coast near Portland, in northern California near San Francisco, in Florida and in St. Louis, Missouri.”
The Firestorm, led by Head Coach Donnie Yantis, have signed 101 players for their inaugural season, including 76 from high schools in Arizona.
ACU’s first two games will be home games – the ACU opener versus Evangel University of Springfield, Missouri on Saturday night, Aug. 23, and one week later on Aug. 30 versus Wayland Baptist from Plainview, Texas. Start time for both NAIA games will be at 7:15 p.m.
ACU will actually play in two inaugural games this season. In addition to hosting ACU’s first-ever game on Aug. 23, the Firestorm’s first road game at George Fox University on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. will be the first football game for that NCAA D3 program since the school suspended its program in 1968, and will the first game played in brand-new Stoffer Family Stadium in Newberg, Oregon, near Portland.
ACU will return home to face two NCAA Division 2 opponents — Western New Mexico from Silver City, N.M. on Sept. 13, followed by Kentucky Wesleyan of Owensboro, KY on Sept. 27. Those games also begin at 7:15 p.m.
ACU then will play three consecutive road games, traveling to Florida to take on NAIA Webber International on Saturday, Oct. 4, then to the Bay Area of northern California to play NAIA rival Menlo College in Atherton, CA on Oct. 11. After a bye week, the Firestorm travel to America’s heartland in St. Louis, Missouri to face NAIA Missouri Baptist University on Saturday, Oct. 25. Missouri Baptist will also be in its first season of NAIA football.
ACU finishes its first season at home by hosting a return engagement against Menlo College on Nov. 1 at 7:15 p.m.
All home games will be played at 6,000-seat Shadow Mountain High School Stadium, 2902 E. Shea Boulevard in Phoenix, about 1.5 miles from the ACU campus at 2625 E. Cactus Road.