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There have been some tweaks to Indiana football’s 2021 schedule.

The changes announced Friday by the Big Ten essentially move up a late October contest at Penn State and a November home date with Michigan State to Oct. 2 and Oct. 16, respectively, pushing what were supposed to be early October trips to Maryland and Michigan to later in the schedule.

IU will still open at Iowa on Sept. 4.

The tweaks were necessary because the 2020 schedule, which went conference-only due to the pandemic, switched the location of six games, including two for the Hoosiers. IU-Michigan was moved to IU and IU-Michigan State went back to East Lansing.

Because of the corresponding location changes, which called for IU to head to Michigan and to host MSU in 2021, the Hoosiers were slated to take to the road in four of their first five Big Ten games. The opener with Iowa was followed by Maryland and Michigan on the road. A home contest with Rutgers led into a bye week and then a trip to Penn State. That would have been followed by consecutive home dates with Ohio State, Michigan State, and Minnesota.

Now, there is more home-and-away balance in the schedule. IU’s back-to-back road contests at Western Kentucky and Penn State will lead into a bye the week of Saturday, Oct. 9. Coming out of the off week, IU will face Michigan State and Ohio State at home. Road trips to Maryland and Michigan will be followed by home meetings with Rutgers and Minnesota.

Per usual, the season will end with IU-Purdue, though IU heads back to West Lafayette despite this past season’s game in Bloomington being canceled twice. That marked the first time since the 1918 and ’19 seasons that the two rivals did not meet.

Even though the Hoosiers lost a home game in 2020, IU still has just four Big Ten home games in 2021. The schedule just flips IU’s home and road assignments versus East Division opponents, which was to be expected. IU had OSU, Rutgers, and Michigan State on the road in 2020, and now those opponents will come to the Hoosiers in 2021. But this continues a disruption of what used to be the normal rhythm of home and away contests.

When the Hoosiers had five home games, they would ordinarily have Penn State and Michigan State at home. Four home games meant OSU and Michigan were part of the Bloomington slate. This will be the first time since 2013 – when the conference had an eight-game conference schedule – that IU will not have one of those pairs at home in a season. That year, the Hoosiers played PSU at home but went to OSU, Michigan, and Michigan State.

In the end, the combination of Iowa, Penn State, Michigan, and Purdue, plus Maryland, has the makings of a tough road slate for IU. The Hoosiers also have that additional road game in the non-conference, heading to Western Kentucky, so it’s an even split of six games apiece at home and on the road in 2021. But that isn’t a deviation from the schedule’s original form.

A release from IU said fans who held season tickets in 2020 will be able to renew their seats online “in the near future.” Those interested in becoming new season ticket holders can put down a deposit right now. Like in 2020, the value of all season ticket and parking purchases for the 2021 season will be guaranteed under IU Athletics’ ticket assurance policy.

Sept. 4: at Iowa
Sept. 11: vs. Idaho
Sept. 18: Cincinnati
Sept. 25: at Western Kentucky
Oct. 2: at Penn State
Oct. 9: Bye
Oct. 16: Michigan State
Oct. 23: Ohio State
Oct. 30: at Maryland
Nov. 6: at Michigan
Nov. 13: Rutgers
Nov. 20: Minnesota
Nov. 27: at Purdue
Dec. 4: Big Ten Championship Game

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