Hoosiers will face Buckeyes at a home game with a sellout crowd Saturday night

Dustin Dopirak
The Herald-Times

Indiana went into this season hoping and believing that its matchup with Ohio State would mean a lot more to the Hoosiers.

After finishing second in the Big Ten East last season with a 6-1 conference record and their only league loss coming on the road against the Buckeyes, the Hoosiers were hoping that Ohio State’s personnel losses and their opportunity to play the game at home in 2021 might give them a chance to knock the Buckeyes off and take control of the division.  

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The Hoosiers are not in the position they hoped to be in, however, starting the season 2-4 with an 0-3 conference record. There’s a four-team race atop the division and No. 5 Ohio State, 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play, is a part of it as usual, but Indiana is not. 

Still, there will be a big-game atmosphere at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. and televised nationally by ABC as its weekly Saturday night game, and all of the stadium's 52,929 seats have been sold. That makes it the second sellout this season, with the first coming against Cincinnati on Sept. 18.  

Indiana University students cheer Oct. 16 during the Indiana-Michigan State football game at Memorial Stadium.

The large crowd is typical for an Indiana-Ohio State game. The Buckeyes bring a large fan contingent with them. This will be the third sellout in the last four times Ohio State has played at Memorial Stadium, dating to 2015. There were only two other sellouts at Memorial Stadium in that time frame — this year’s Cincinnati game and the 2017 game against Michigan.  

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Since 1996, every Ohio State game at Indiana has drawn at least 47,000 fans. This will be the seventh of the 11 games played at IU in the series that has drawn at least 50,000 fans. In that same time frame, the Hoosiers have drawn 50,000 to Memorial Stadium in just seven other games. It happened for three Purdue games (1999, 2005 and 2007), two Michigan games (2010 and 2017), this year’s Cincinnati game and last week’s Michigan State game.  

Indiana is hopeful that the late start will make it easier to handle the influx of fans than it has been for noon kickoffs in the last two home games. The tailgate fields will open at noon and the gates to the stadium will open at 5:30 p.m., which should help minimize traffic issues.

However, IU is still working in partnership with the Martinsville Police Department to have officers operating stoplights and directing traffic at certain intersections in Martinsville to deal with the consistent influx of traffic that has hit the town because of the Interstate 69 Finish Line project and becomes particularly acute for IU football games because of fans driving south from Indianapolis.  

An Indiana cheerleader is lifted high in front of a big crowd Oct. 16 during the Indiana-Michigan State football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.

Promotions and other events connected to the game include.  

  • The Marching Hundred halftime show is titled “Get Up and Dance.” It will feature a TikTok dance medley, and students who were part of the IU Dance Marathon will participate. 
  • Fanny packs and red IU T-shirts will be laid out on student section seats before the game begins. 
  • The IU women’s basketball team will be recognized during the first timeout of the game for its 2021 Elite Eight run in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.  
  • IU Athletes of the Year Grace Berger (women’s basketball) Andrew Capobianco  (men’s swimming and diving) and Victor Bezerra (men’s soccer) will be honored during the first timeout of the second quarter. So will winners of the G. Frederick Glass Directors Award — Kyle Mau of the men’s track and field team and Josie Grote of the women’s swimming and diving team.  
  • Orange Theory Fitness will do a towel toss during the third timeout of the first quarter.