For the first time in school history, ESPN will cover Hillsdale College football on Sat­urday, Oct. 14. (Photo: Ryan Kelly Murphy / Courtesy)

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.”