- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten has largely stiff-armed the national trend of scheduling midweek football games, but the league will open the 2009 season on a Thursday night.
Indiana has released its 2009 schedule, which begins with a Thursday night clash against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 3. It marks the first Thursday home game in Memorial Stadium history and Indiana's first Thursday appearance since opening the 2001 season at N.C. State. The Hoosiers also will be unveiling the new renovations to Memorial Stadium that night.
"I think it will be a special treat for our fans to open our season and our renovated stadium on the Thursday night before Labor Day weekend," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. "Hopefully, it will not only help our attendance versus a game in the middle of the holiday weekend, but it will be a great kickoff for a new football tradition in our new stadium."
Indiana's non-league schedule also features a home game against Western Michigan and trips to Akron and Virginia. Both Ohio State and Michigan return to the Hoosiers' Big Ten schedule, while Michigan State and Minnesota are off the slate.
Here's the complete 2009 schedule:
Sept. 3 Eastern Kentucky, 8 p.m. ET
Sept. 12 Western Michigan
Sept. 19 at Akron
Sept. 26 at Michigan
Oct. 3 Ohio State
Oct. 10 at Virginia
Oct. 17 Illinois
Oct. 24 at Northwestern
Oct. 31 at Iowa
Nov. 7 Wisconsin
Nov. 14 at Penn State
Nov. 21 Purdue
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4dBrian Bennett and Dan Murphy