Kentucky moves opening game against Eastern Michigan to Sept. 3 to avoid Derby conflict

LEXINGTON – Kentucky football will return a bit earlier than expected this fall, breaking out of the starting gate first on a holiday weekend that also includes the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.

UK’s season opener vs. Eastern Michigan, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, has now been moved to Thursday, Sept. 3 at Kroger Field, it was announced today by athletics director Mitch Barnhart. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network and a kickoff time will be announced at a later date.

The move became necessary after COVID-19 upended the nation’s sporting schedule and caused the Kentucky Derby to be rescheduled from the first Saturday in May to Saturday, Sept. 5.  It marks the first time since 1945 that the Kentucky Derby has been held outside the month of May and just the second time since 1875.

Kentucky will play its eighth Thursday night game in modern times and the first since meeting Auburn at Kroger Field on Oct. 15, 2015. UK also met Mississippi State on a Thursday night in Starkville, Mississippi on Oct. 24, 2013 and Nov. 4, 1999. UK traveled to Auburn for a Thursday night game in 1994 and South Carolina in 1993, 2003 and 2007. UK opened the 2011 season by defeating Western Kentucky on a Thursday night in Nashville.

This will be the third all-time meeting with Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference. UK is 2-0 all-time vs. Eagles, winning at Kroger Field in 2017 and 2019.

Season tickets for Kentucky football’s seven-game home schedule are on sale now starting at $250 apiece. Season tickets offer savings over all other ticketing options and a variety of exclusive incentives. Fans may work together with a personal ticketing consultant to compare and purchase available seat locations by requesting a call or by contacting the UK Sales Office at (800) 928-2287 (Option 1).

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