Tennessee returns to Music City as the Volunteers will square off against Virginia to open the 2023 college football season on Saturday, Sept. 2 in Nissan Stadium, the two programs and the Nashville Sports Council announced Monday.
Tennessee was originally scheduled to begin the season against BYU in Provo, Utah, but this contest played in-state versus Virginia replaces that game.
“Pivoting to play a marquee non-conference opponent in Nashville made sense for multiple reasons,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “This is a more accessible game for our fanbase. I expect that we will have a much larger contingent of fans in Nashville than would have been able to travel to Utah. Our fans also have heard me talk about the importance of finding new revenue to grow our operating budget, and playing Virginia at Nissan Stadium is an opportunity for a net-positive revenue game. I appreciate Virginia AD Carla Williams and the Nashville Sports Council for working with us to make this attractive matchup happen.”
This will be the third time that the Volunteers open a season in Nissan Stadium. Tennessee beat Bowling Green, 59-30, on Sept. 5, 2015, and topped Wyoming, 47-7, on Aug. 31, 2002. The Vols last played in Nissan Stadium in December in the 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl against Purdue.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Vols and Cavaliers to Nashville on opening weekend of the 2023 college football season,” Nashville Sports Council President and CEO Scott Ramsey said. “Both programs have a place in Nashville Sports history, having both played in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl. We look forward to hosting them along with their loyal fanbases and once again showcasing Nashville on a national stage.”
The 2023 opener will be the first meeting between the two teams since the 1991 Sugar Bowl when Tony Thompson plunged in from 1-yard out with 0:31 remaining to give Tennessee a 23-22 come-from-behind victory in New Orleans. The Vols lead the all-time series, 3-1. The other meetings occurred in Knoxville during regular seasons of 1927, 1940 and 1980.
Tennessee will serve as the designated home team for the 2023 opener. Ticket information and a kickoff time will be announced at a later date.