Billy Napier, the newly named head coach of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team, participates in a press conference Monday, December 18, 2017, at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK

LAFAYETTE — With the Billy Napier era set to start this fall, the 2018 Louisiana-Lafayette football schedule was announced Tuesday and will feature six home games along with road games at SEC foes Mississippi State and Alabama.

“We are excited to host six games at Cajun Field this upcoming season,” athletic director Dr. Bryan Maggard said. “Having all games on Saturdays, as well as a good balance of road and home games spread throughout the season will be beneficial for our fan base and community."

Louisiana-Lafayette opens the season at Cajun Field on Sept. 1 against Grambling in the Herbert Heymann Classic. The meeting will be the first between the two programs.

Following an open date, the Cajuns begin a stretch of 11 straight weekends with a contest on Sept. 15 at Mississippi State.

The Cajuns then open the Sun Belt schedule at home on Sept. 22 against Coastal Carolina.

Louisiana-Lafayette steps back out of league play on Sept. 29 with a trip to defending national champion Alabama. The Ragin’ Cajuns return to conference action on Oct. 6 with a trip to Texas State.

The Cajuns close out their nonconference schedule Oct. 13 with a home contest against former Sun Belt member New Mexico State  for homecoming.

Following the Aggies game, Louisiana closes out the regular season with six consecutive Sun Belt Conference games, starting at defending SBC co-champion Appalachian State on Oct. 20.

“We are excited about the challenge of our 2018 schedule,” Napier said. “It’s imperative that we remain focused on our current daily work so that we can be prepared for this great opportunity.”

2018 Louisiana-Lafayette football schedule

Sept. 1 - Grambling

Sept. 15 - at Mississippi State

Sept. 22 - Coastal Carolina*

Sept. 29 - at Alabama

Oct. 6 - at Texas State*

Oct. 13 - New Mexico State (HC)

Oct. 20 - at Appalachian State*

Oct. 27 - Arkansas State*

Nov. 3 - at Troy*

Nov. 10 - Georgia State*

Nov. 17 - South Alabama*

Nov. 24 - at ULM*

* Sun Belt game