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April 7, 2014

Michigan to face Penn State in primetime

The Michigan-Penn State game will be a nationally televised primetime game, the athletic department confirmed in a statement Monday afternoon. The Oct. 11 game will be played at 7 p.m. and broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN 2.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon addressed the possibility of playing the game at night when he spoke to members of the media during a press conference for the Manchester United-Real Madrid soccer match last Friday - and confirmed the rumor Monday.

"The night game atmosphere created by our fans has been electric and we expect that same type of energy for our first-ever conference night game against Penn State," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said in the release. "Our players really enjoy playing in primetime at Michigan Stadium."

The Wolverines are 2-0 in night games in Michigan Stadium.

In 2011, Michigan hosted Notre Dame in the first-ever primetime kickoff in Big House history. After falling behind 24-7 late in the third quarter, the Wolverines stormed back and scored the game-winning touchdown with two seconds on the clock, winning 35-31 in one of the most thrilling finishes in recent memory.

Last season, Michigan once again hosted the Fighting Irish for a night game - dubbed Under The Lights II - and won, 41-30.

Michigan will also play a late kickoff at Notre Dame next season, which will be the final game in the series between the two old rivals, after Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick decided to cut ties with the Wolverines.

That game will be a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

The Wolverines hold a 10-6 all-time advantage over the Nittany Lions. The two historic programs had never met on the gridiron before Penn State joined the Big Ten in the early 1990s.

After winning nine straight games over the Nittany Lions from 1997-2007, Michigan has dropped four straight games against Penn State: a 46-17 loss in 2008, a 35-10 loss in 2009, a 41-31 loss in 2010 and a 43-40 quadruple-overtime loss at Penn State last season.

With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the Big Ten and the subsequent reshuffling of the conference's divisions, Michigan and Penn State will both be members of the East Division, meaning the Wolverines and Nittany Lions will play on a yearly basis.

The 2014 edition of the Michigan-Penn State series will also be new Penn State coach James Franklin's first game against the Wolverines.

Franklin was hired by the Nittany Lions after Bill O'Brien accepted the Houston Texans job after two seasons in Happy Valley.

Franklin compiled a 24-15 overall record in three seasons as Vanderbilt's head coach, leading the Commodores to two consecutive 9-4 seasons - including two straight bowl victories (the first time that had ever happened in program history - in 2012 and 2013.

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