Michigan vs. Penn State in 2014 Will Be in Primetime, Under the Big House Lights

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2014

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner (98) rushes on a break away run in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game with Notre Dame, in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Tony Ding

This year's game between Michigan and Penn State was already going to feel different, as the Wolverines and Nittany Lions will meet for the first time as division rivals within the newly formed Big Ten East.

On Monday, the deviations between next year's game and the previous 17 meetings in series history continued to pile up, with UM officially announcing that the game will be played under the lights (kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET) at the Big House in Ann Arbor.

Said head coach Brady Hoke in a statement released by the school:

The night game atmosphere created by our fans has been electric and we expect that same type of energy for our first-ever conference night game against Penn State. Our players really enjoy playing in primetime at Michigan Stadium.

Not that they've had many chances.

Michigan hosted its first home night game against Notre Dame in 2011 and has only repeated the feat against Notre Dame in 2013. This will thus be the first Big Ten game played at night in the Big House, as well as the first against anyone other than the Irish.

According to the press release, either ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11. An average of more than eight million people watched the first two night games against Notre Dame, both of which were carried by ESPN, and the network is surely hoping for (and expecting) a similar number this fall.

Much of that will depend on the form of the teams. Traditionally two of college football's biggest powers, Michigan and Penn State combined to lose 11 games last season, but improvement is expected out of both in 2014.

If nothing else, the game will be a great prime-time look at Penn State sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg against Michigan freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers—two of the most touted recruits of the past two years.

What better way to see that than under the lights?


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