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Tennessee moves 2021 opener against Bowling Green to Thursday night, September 2nd

NCAA Football: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Josh Heupel era will now debut under the lights on a Thursday night at Neyland Stadium. The University made the announcement on Tuesday, moving the game from Saturday to a Thursday primetime slot.

Kickoff is now set for September 2nd at 8 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

“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.”

Tennessee and Bowling Green will be meeting for the second time ever, coming off of a 2015 matchup which saw the Volunteers come out on top 59-30. The 2021 opener will mark 100 years in Neyland Stadium, while also serving as Josh Heupel’s first game in Knoxville.

“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,” White said. “I cannot wait to feel the electricity as the Vols come bursting through that T on Thursday night.”

Heupel brings his 28-8 record at UCF to Tennessee, looking to rebuild and transform the Volunteers. His style is a total contrast from the previous staff, which should produce plenty of offensive fireworks.

Tennessee opens with three straight games at Neyland Stadium to kickoff the 2021 season. Bowling Green will be followed by an interesting matchup with Pittsburgh, before Tennessee Tech makes the short trip over on September 18th.