Kansas-Illinois Matchup Moved to Friday Night Primetime Slot on ESPN2

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Football will host a weekday game on an ESPN platform for the first time since 1995 when the Jayhawks welcome Illinois to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 8.

ESPN announced Thursday that the Kansas-Illinois matchup – originally scheduled for Sept. 9 – has been moved up a day, so the game can be a nationally televised primetime matchup to kick off Week 2 of the college football season. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., on ESPN2 on Sept. 8.

To help accommodate the move, Kansas also moved its season opener against Missouri State back one day to Friday, Sept. 1. That game will kick off at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN Plus.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Kansas Football to be featured on primetime. We look forward to showcasing a program on an unrivaled trajectory to a national audience against a high-quality opponent. This is a testament to a new era of KU Football and a group of young men and coaching staff who have worked tirelessly to restore pride and belief in this program. We expect this will be a highly viewed early season game and an outstanding sell-out environment at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.”


Kansas has not been selected for an ESPN nationally televised home weekday game since beating TCU 38-20 on ESPN in 1995. However, coming off a six-win season in 2022 that also featured Kansas Football hosting ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time ever, the Jayhawks find themselves in the national spotlight in a compelling matchup against a Fighting Illini team that went 8-5 last season and appeared in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Mississippi State.

“We are excited to play a home game in primetime on a night where our players will be seen by a national audience.”


The Jayhawks return 17 of 22 starters from the 2022 team, which experienced a breakthrough season as it played in the program’s first bowl game since 2008 with an appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Leipold led the Jayhawks to their first 5-0 start since 2009 and KU played in front of three home sellout crowds.

All total, Kansas will host seven games at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium during the 2023 season. Other home opponents for the Jayhawks include BYU, UCF, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Kansas State.

Season tickets for the 2023 campaign are on sale starting at just $195. Seating options include bowl seating, family zone, the Meritrust Touchdown Club, and more.

During the purchasing process, fans have the option to add a premium seatback to their order for less than $8 per game. To purchase season tickets, and for more information, please click here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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