May 5, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will kick off the 2011 football season against Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. EDT in Spartan Stadium. The 2011 season and home opener will be televised nationally by the Big Ten Network. Michigan State's first-ever meeting against the Penguins was originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3.
It marks just the 10th night game in the 88-year history of Spartan Stadium.
"We're extremely excited about this special opportunity to kick off the 2011 season with a nationally televised game against Youngstown State," MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "Over the years, fans have expressed increased interest in kicking off our home football schedule with a Friday night game on Labor Day weekend. We believe it will be a positive experience for our entire fan base, including the student body, and we couldn't pull something like this off without campus-wide cooperation.
"Since Michigan (K-12) schools don't begin fall classes until after Labor Day, the vast majority of high school teams will play their football games on Thursday that week, making this a great way for our fans to kick off the holiday weekend. By moving the Youngstown State game to Friday night, it's also our hope that the state tourism industry will receive a positive bump since most fans will now have the opportunity to make plans to enjoy the entire Labor Day weekend."
"We applaud Michigan State's decision to move its game and clear the Labor Day weekend to promote holiday travel in Pure Michigan," Vice President for Travel Michigan George Zimmermann said. "Now, Michigan State fans will be able to enjoy both a great football game and a great Pure Michigan holiday weekend in our spectacular state."
Last October, Hollis announced MSU will open the 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 31 against Boise State in Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State is 5-4 in its nine previous prime-time TV appearances in Spartan Stadium, including last year's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame as holder Aaron Bates completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt off a fake field goal.
The Spartans enter the 2011 season with a streak of 102 consecutive live TV appearances (games televised regionally or nationally since November 2002).