Hillsdale College football will play for a national audience this weekend.
On Saturday, ESPN3 will broadcast online the Chargers’ home game against the University of Findlay. This will be the first time in school history an ESPN station covers a Hillsdale College football game. Kickoff on Saturday is at 1:00 p.m.
The NCAA selected the matchup this weekend as one of 22 games to be featured for the Division II football showcase. Two D-II games each week during the regular season are broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Sports Information Director Brad Monastiere said during the summer, the NCAA sent an email to D-II programs requesting nominations for the showcase.
“I thought our home game against Findlay would be a strong candidate,” Monastiere said. “I wrote up a couple of paragraphs stating my case that ESPN pick our game, and a few weeks later, I got an email showing our game as part of the showcase schedule.”
Monastiere said the NCAA chose Hillsdale as a destination for a number of reasons.
“The reasons stated for our game getting picked was that it was a game featuring two high-scoring offenses, two top-tier quarterbacks, and that we have a high-quality facility,” Monastiere said. “It’s nice to know that Hillsdale is known at a national level for those things.”
Findlay (5-1), is tied for first place in the G-MAC, with a 2-0 conference record. Hillsdale (3-3), is 1-1 in the G-MAC. The Chargers fell to conference co-leader Ohio Dominican University last weekend. As a result, Saturday’s game against Findlay becomes crucial for the Chargers in their quest to win the conference.
“We go into the game every time with the same mentality, but now it’s kind of a must win,” junior wide receiver Trey Brock said. “If we want a shot at winning the conference and going to the playoffs, we’ve got to win out. We’re bringing the same mentality we always bring. It’ll be a fun game.”
“It’s cool for our kids,” head coach Keith Otterbein said. “It’s always cool to be on TV, especially ESPN.”
Otterbein said preparation for the game will be the same as always, but acknowledges the excitement the team and its fans has because of the national attention.
“There’s a lot of talk about it throughout the week, a lot of buzz about it,” sophomore defensive back Jason McDonough said. “We’re excited to go on national TV and show what we can do. Playing with a lot of enthusiasm and effort is something we always rally around, and this will be just another chance to show that on a bigger stage.”
Monastiere said the selection speaks to Hillsdale’s strong reputation.
“I feel it’s an awesome opportunity not just for our football team, but for the college, to have a spotlight like this on us for a game during this season,” Monastiere said. “We have a program and facility worthy of an ESPN showcase game, and I’m thrilled to host ESPN here this weekend.”