Iowa and Nebraska to Play Football Games on Friday

March 7, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA – – When the Universities of Iowa and Nebraska meet on the football field this fall as Big Ten Conference rivals for the first time, the game will take place on Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.

The Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers announced Monday that both the 2011 contest, in Lincoln, and the 2012 game, in Iowa City, will be played on Friday. The teams will meet in Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 23, 2012.

The change in dates was recently approved by the Big Ten Conference Administrator’s Council. Game times and television information are not finalized at this time.

“Iowa playing Nebraska on any given weekend is a great match-up between two historic football programs,” said Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta. “Having the game on Thanksgiving Friday will add to the excitement and the potential for a strong national television audience.”

Barta also noted that the day change will provide the student-athletes from both teams a two-day holiday break before starting classes on Monday.

“I think our fans have enjoyed the tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving, and we are pleased the Big Ten Conference has allowed us to continue to do so,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. “The University of Iowa is a natural opponent to play on that day, and we look forward to great matchups between the two schools for years to come.”

Barta also noted that the day change will provide the student-athletes from both teams a two-day holiday break before starting classes on Monday.

“Our staff and players are excited to begin competing with Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving this season and in 2012,” said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz. “College football played on this day has a well-established rivalry history, and we feel it will be a great opportunity for our program to join in a new chapter of Big Ten history. These Friday games should help create great atmosphere, both in Lincoln this fall and in Kinnick Stadium in 2012.”

“Obviously, I have the philosophy that you show up and play when and where the schedule dictates,” added Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini. “That being said, playing the day after Thanksgiving has been good for our program in terms of national exposure, and we look forward to that continuing as we move into the Big Ten Conference. We have a lot of respect for Iowa’s football program and these games should be a good showcase for the league.”

Nebraska holds a 26-12-3 advantage in the series with the Hawkeyes. The two teams last met in 2000 in Lincoln. Nebraska has won the last three meetings, with Iowa’s most recent win coming by a 10-7 margin in 1981. The teams have met just six times since 1946.

Iowa and Nebraska met eight consecutive years (1891-98) on Thanksgiving Day, with those eight games played in either Omaha or Council Bluffs.

Iowa and Nebraska are members of the Legends Division of the Big Ten Conference, along with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The Leaders Division includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The inaugural Big Ten Conference championship game will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Iowa begins spring practice in late March and will conclude spring drills with an open scrimmage in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, April 16. The Hawkeyes open the 2011 season Sept 3, hosting Tennessee Tech in Kinnick Stadium in the first of seven home games.