First-year Tennessee head football coach Josh Heupel and his Volunteers will make their debut in a nationally televised SEC Network primetime game on Thursday, Sept. 2, against Bowling Green in Neyland Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
The contest was originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4.
“Any time you consider moving football games to a weekday—which is rare—you want to be sensitive to out-of-town fans who have to make plans to travel to Knoxville,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White said. “In this case, the Labor Day holiday and four-month lead time should help in that regard. Sliding our opener to this Thursday primetime window gave us a wonderful opportunity for our football student-athletes to kick off their season in the national spotlight.
“This should be a fun way to begin celebrating 100 years of Neyland Stadium while also beginning an exciting new era of Tennessee football under Josh Heupel. I cannot wait to feel the electricity as the Vols come bursting through that T on Thursday night.”
The 2021 opener commences the centennial celebration of Neyland Stadium, which opened in 1921. Tennessee and Bowling Green are meeting for just the second time. The Vols began the 2015 season with a 59-30 neutral-site win over the Falcons in Nashville.
Heupel takes the reins of the Volunteers as one of college football’s winningest head coaches over the past three seasons. He produced a 28-8 overall record at UCF, a 2018 American Athletic Conference championship and three bowl appearances, including a New Year’s Six Fiesta Bowl berth in January 2019.
Heupel’s up-tempo offenses have established a track record of success. The Knights ranked in the FBS top five in total offense in each of his three seasons, and they were top 10 in points per game all three years as well. In both seasons as Missouri offensive coordinator from 2016-17, Heupel’s unit led the Southeastern Conference in total offense and ranked in the top 15 nationally.
Season tickets for the 100th year of Neyland Stadium and the start of the Heupel era are on sale now at AllVols.com. Season tickets start as low as $300, with the Vol Pass and payment plan options offered. Fans can experience the Neyland Stadium 3D map to select tickets based on preference. Fans with questions related to seats, views and options can utilize the live “CHAT” feature on AllVols.com.