Auburn’s marquee nonconference game during the 2021 football season will be played in primetime.
ESPN announced Tuesday that the Tigers' game at Penn State will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on Sept. 18 inside Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa. It will be televised on ABC.
The game marks Bryan Harsin's first road game as AU's coach and the first time Auburn has played a Big Ten opponent during the regular season since 1931. It's also the first half of a home-and-home — the Nittany Lions are scheduled to visit Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2022.
The Tigers, who finished 6-5 last year, open the season with back-to-back home games vs. Akron on Sept. 4 and Alabama State on Sept. 11. Kickoff times have not been announced for either of those games.
Penn State went 4-5 last season and will be tested early in this one, as it opens with a road trip to face conference foe Wisconsin in Week 1.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams, with the first two coming in Florida bowl games. Auburn won 13-9 in 2003, and Penn State won 43-14 in 1996.
New opponent in 2025
Auburn’s 2025 schedule is nearly complete.
Ball State announced Wednesday that it has scheduled a game against the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 6 of that year.
That's Auburn's third scheduled nonconference game, joining an Aug. 30 game at Baylor and a Sept. 13 game against South Alabama.
"This game will provide our football student-athletes a platform to compete on another big stage with a rich intercollegiate sporting experience," said Ball State deputy athletic director Haven Fields, who is an Auburn graduate. "As an Auburn alum and football letterman, it is exciting to have the opportunity to travel back South to compete against the SEC."
Fields played for Auburn in the late '90s, earning honorable mention All-SEC honors and the team's Zeke Smith Award as the defensive player of the year.
Auburn and Ball State have met three times — in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The Tigers won all three matchups by at least three touchdowns.