Illini football season opener moved to Sept. 4 under the lights


The Illinois football team will play its season opener against Kent State on September 4, a Friday night. The Illini are trying new methods to increase attendance. Illinois played under the lights against Arizona State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. The Illini won 17-14.

By Sean Neumann

The Illinois football team announced its season opener will be moved to Friday, Sept. 4 against Kent State.

The announcement was made via press release Monday morning.

The game will be the first non-Saturday matchup for the Illini since 2001 when the Illini played Northwestern on Thanksgiving Day.

“We are always exploring new ideas on improving our in-game atmosphere and trying to make the games as enjoyable as possible,” Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said in a press release. “We are introducing an exciting new tailgating area on the west side of Memorial Stadium this season, and an early season night game is a terrific way to allow our fans to experience that area.”

The 2014 season saw the Illini struggle with attendance throughout the season. Attendance even influenced the program’s decision to play its Thanksgiving break game in Chicago against Northwestern due to low attendance at Memorial Stadium last year against Penn State.

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The kickoff time for the Friday night season opener is still yet to be announced. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the game.

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