OSU To Play Twice At Night In Horseshoe

Gene Smith and Urban Meyer have wanted more night games in Ohio Stadium and they have received their wish for the second year in a row. Ohio State will take on Virginia Tech and Illinois in prime-time matchups and also have to trip to take on Penn State under the lights.

The new permanent lights that are being installed in Ohio Stadium this offseason will get a workout this season as it was announced Tuesday morning that ABC/ESPN will carry home games vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 6) and Illinois (Nov. 1) in prime time.

Ohio State will also keep its recent tradition of traveling to Penn State for nighttime games alive as well when it takes on the Nittany Lions under the lights in Happy Valley on Oct. 25. All games will have 8 p.m. starts.

The game against Illinois will also be history in some ways as it will be the first November night game under a new conference rule that allows league schools to play under the lights in the final month of the season. Perhaps the only surprise is the Nov. 8 road contest at Michigan State, a rematch of last year's league title game, was not included in the list of night games.

The Buckeyes have excelled under the lights at home in recent years, winning five consecutive prime-time games including victories vs. Wisconsin and Penn State a season ago. The Buckeyes are 11-3 overall in night games in Ohio Stadium.

The games have become recruiting showcases over the past few years, much to the delight of head coach Urban Meyer. In addition, athletics director Gene Smith pushed for more home night games last offseason, obviously with Meyer's blessing.

"In 2005, we learned a lot," he said. "We weren't ready to have more night games that fast, but now we are. We can handle them, the parking and traffic and all that and how people handle themselves throughout the day. We're ready.

"I was tired of how we were always getting two night games on the road and one at home. I was like, if we're going to have three night games, let's at least do two at home so we're not traveling all the time."

As for Penn State, OSU was upset by the Nittany Lions under the lights in Beaver Stadium in 2005 and nearly met the same fate in 2003 but posted wins in that circumstance in 2007 and 2012.

There could be more prime-time games coming up as the Big Ten Network will unveil its slate of nighttime matchups next Tuesday.

Navy, Noon (8/30, Baltimore, Md.)
Virginia Tech, 8 p.m., ESPN (9/6)
Kent State (9/13)
Cincinnati (9/27)
at Maryland (10/4)
Rutgers (10/18)
at Penn State, 8 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (10/25)
Illinois, 8 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (11/1)
at Michigan State (11/8)
at Minnesota (11/15)
Indiana (11/22)
Michigan (11/29)

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