UNLV game moved to Sept. 5

In the first Sunday home game in Neyland Stadium history, Tennessee and UNLV square off Sept. 5 to begin the 2004 football season as part of a busy Labor Day weekend in Knoxville. Kickoff for the game is slated for 8 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2.

The city's annual fireworks display, ''Boomsday,'' begins the weekend Saturday night, Sept. 4, with more than 300,000 people expected to attend. Another six-figure crowd then will fill Neyland Stadium one night later for the historic beginning to Tennessee's 107th season of varsity football.

''We're pleased to have the chance to be on a national stage in prime time, basically uncontested,'' UT head coach Phillip Fulmer said. ''It will be great exposure for us.

''I think we're in for a big weekend. It's up to us to do a great job in playing an outstanding team like UNLV and providing our own fireworks.''

UT announced plans earlier this year for a football lettermen reunion weekend at the UNLV game, and more than 300 former players are expected to attend. In honor of their predecessors, the Vols will don retro game jerseys that night from the early 1970s.

''With no NFL or college football games in the Sunday night time slot, this is a great way to honor the tradition of Tennessee football in the national spotlight as we pay tribute to the great players that laid the foundation for our program,'' UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton said.

''This is a great opportunity for the city of Knoxville and the University of Tennessee to garner national exposure,'' Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam said. ''There's not much that compares to an opening weekend of college football in Knoxville, Tennessee. I don't think anything compares. When you add on Boomsday and that experience, we think we'll have the greatest weekend in the whole country.''

Other September game times also have been announced.

Tennessee's Sept. 18 contest against Florida begins at 8 p.m., with CBS providing the television coverage. The Sept. 25 Homecoming contest against Louisiana Tech kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be a VideoSeat pay-per-view telecast.

Since 1921, when the stadium opened, the Vols have traditionally played on Saturdays, except for nine Thanksgiving Day home games against Kentucky from 1922-38 and a Friday date against Maryville College Oct. 15, 1926.

This year's game will be Tennessee's fifth playing date on a Sunday.

Tennessee's most recent Sunday appearance was a Jan. 2, 2000, matchup against Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. The Vols also met Wisconsin in the Garden State Bowl, defeating the Badgers Sunday, Dec. 13, 1981, at the Meadowlands.

Two regular season games also have been played on Sunday. UT defeated Iowa Aug. 30, 1987, in the Kickoff Classic -- again, at the Meadowlands -- and tied Colorado Aug. 26, 1990, at the Pigskin Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

The Vols have played regular-season games twice on the road on Thursdays, in the 1991 opener against Louisville (Sept. 5) and in 1996 against Mississippi in Memphis (Oct. 3).

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