SALT LAKE CITY — On the first Thursday night of September, the University of Utah hopes to see a newly-renovated Rice-Eccles Stadium rocking at full capacity, a year after fans were barred from attending games due to the pandemic.
The stadium, which underwent a $80 million south end zone renovation, will feature the Utah football program kicking off its 2021 season against in-state opponent Weber State, a top-5 program in the FCS, on Sept. 2. The game time has yet to be set, but it will be the first opportunity for fans to see their team in person in a fully-closed stadium environment.
"We are incredibly excited to be planning for a sold-out, full-capacity environment at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 2021 football season," Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "We are so grateful for our passionate, loyal fans, who have stood by us and supported our department through a very challenging time.
"I'm also thrilled for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who have worked so hard and maintained a high standard throughout everything, and will again be able to experience the roar of the home crowd. We can't wait for Sept. 2 when we open the expanded Rice-Eccles Stadium and unveil the Ken Garff Performance Zone with 51,444 in the building."
In addition to Utah announcing its plan for a full capacity stadium environment, the university announced the kickoff times and broadcast partners for a handful of games this upcoming season, including a Week 2 road matchup against in-state rival BYU on Sept. 11 at 8:15 p.m. MT on ESPN.
Utah will follow up its rivalry meeting with a road contest on Sept. 18 against San Diego State. The game will kickoff at 5 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
Additional game times announced include a road tilt against Stanford on Friday, Nov. 5 at 8:30 p.m. MT on FS1. A road game against USC on Saturday, Oct. 9 and a home game against Colorado to close out the regular season on Friday, Nov. 26 will be broadcast on either FOX or FS1. Times for those games have yet to be determined, though Colorado's game will kickoff at either 2/2:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. MT, according to the Pac-12.
Kickoff times for the remainder of the schedule will be determined at a later date, particularly the conference slate, which is typically announced two weeks prior to the game.