Ohio State Football: 2023 home game themes

COLUMBUS, OHIO - OCTOBER 30: TreVeyon Henderson #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball past Ji'Ayir Brown #16 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half of their game at Ohio Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - OCTOBER 30: TreVeyon Henderson #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball past Ji'Ayir Brown #16 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half of their game at Ohio Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

On Wednesday, the Ohio State football program released its themes for its 2023 home games. Over the past couple of seasons, in a way to better market to fans, Gene Smith and company have advised a plan to label each home game with a theme in order to attract more eyeballs and attention to each home game before the season. I’m not sure if this positively affects ticket sales or not, but it certainly can’t hurt. The following are the themes broken down by opponent and date.

Date: Saturday, September 8

Time: 12:00 pm

Opponent: Youngstown State

Theme: Alumni Band/Faculty & Staff Appreciation

For the third time in school history, Ohio State will play host to in-state FCS foe Youngstown State. The Buckeyes are 2-0 all-time against the Penguins with their last meeting being a 43-0 victory in 2008. Jim Tressel was the coach for the Ohio State football team then. He had previously coached at Youngstown before becoming the head man at Ohio State, winning four national championships for the Penguins.

Both teams sport a shade of the color red, and of course, the alumni band wears red tops as well, so there will be a lot of red in Columbus, Ohio for the home opener. Having the alumni band in the house is always fun, especially when they perform dueling “Script Ohio’s” on the field of play. Maybe we could see a Tressel appearance that day and if we are lucky enough, maybe they will even have Tressel dot the i.

Date: Saturday, September 16

Time: 4:00 pm

Opponent: Western Kentucky

Theme: Scarlet & Gray Game/Buckeyes Care Game

This will be the first time that the Buckeyes and Hilltoppers will do battle between the white lines. Western Kentucky spent most of its history playing as an FBS school but became a Division I FBS independent school in 2007. Both teams are a shade of red and gray, so deciding to make the theme for of the Scarlet & Gray Game makes sense. The Hilltoppers were 9-5 last season and won the New Orleans Bowl to finish off their successful season.

Date: Saturday, October 7

Time: TBD

Opponent: Maryland

Theme: Homecoming/Hall of Fame

This year’s Homecoming game will be against Maryland. The Terrapins are coming off of an 8-5 season in 2022 in which they won their second consecutive Bowl Game under head coach Mike Locksley. Ohio State has never lost to Maryland with a current streak of eight straight.

That doesn’t mean every game has been a blowout, however. The Terrapins have played the Buckeyes tough before and given the expectations for Maryland this season, this could be a difficult Homecoming win for the scarlet and gray. Speaking of Homecoming, all the normal homecoming festivities are scheduled once again this year along with the announcement and celebration of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.

Date: Saturday, October 21

Time: TBD

Opponent: Penn State

Theme: Scarlet The Shoe

Ohio State has had to travel to Happy Valley and take on Penn State during their famous “White Out” game in Beaver Stadium on multiple occasions. Now the Nittany Lions will find out what it is like when an entire stadium of scarlet awaits them.

More than likely the Buckeyes will wear their scarlet pants and tops for this game, something they have done a couple of times before, including the last time Penn State visited The Shoe in 2021. The contrast to Penn State’s all-white uniforms is striking and looks great on television.

This is hands down the biggest home game for Ohio State on the schedule and will be the most expensive ticket for fans looking to snag a pair for the “competitive rivalry game.” Given the addition of USC and UCLA into the Big 10 Conference beginning next season, it was announced that Ohio State and Penn State will no longer play each other every single season as they have since 1993. Ohio State leads the all-time series 23-to-14 and is currently on a six-game win streak, which is the longest in the series by either team.

Date: Saturday, November 11

Time: 7:30 pm

Opponent: Michigan State

Theme: Military Appreciation

The Ohio State football program has honored those who have served our military at games in the past, and they will do the same again this season when Michigan State comes to town. The Spartans are coming off a disappointing 5-7 season.

Second-year head coach Mel Tucker will look to bounce back in 2023, but doing so against Ohio State is easier said than done. The Ohio State football team defeated the Spartans last year by a score of 49-20. Tucker and the boys in green may actually need the United States military in order to win this game and take down the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium in a rare November night game in the Big 10.

Speaking of the United States Military, in the past Ohio State has had flyovers as well as skydivers for their Military Appreciation-themed games. I can see Gene Smith doing something similar again this year. If you are a veteran, you can expect to be honored by Ohio State and Buckeye Nation if you get to attend the game in person.

Date: Saturday, November 18

Time: TBD

Opponent: Minnesota

Theme: Senior Day

The final home game of 2023 will host the traditional Senior Day festivities. This includes having each senior run out of the tunnel for the final time before kickoff by himself to greet head coach Ryan Day with a handshake and hug along with handing his mother a bouquet of flowers from the University.

Next. Ohio State Football: Top 5 atmospheres in the Big Ten. dark

As for the opponent, this will be the first time since 2018 that the Golden Gophers have gotten to travel to Columbus, Ohio. Urban Meyer was still head coach then and led the Buckeyes to a 30-14 win. Ohio State leads the all-time series with Minnesota at 46-7. The Ohio State football team is currently on an 11-game win streak against the Gophers.