YOUNGSTOWN -- The 2001 Youngstown State University football season will kick off on Aug. 30 when the Penguins play host to Lock Haven University at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.
The game will mark the beginning of the 20th season of play at Stambaugh, which opened in 1982.
"We are excited to start the Jon Heacock era and at the same time recognize the great teams, players and coaches that have made the first 19 years at the 'Ice Castle' so exciting for Penguin fans," said Rick Love, YSU associate athletic director.
YSU's promotional schedule will be highlighted by events and fan giveaways to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Stambaugh Stadium.
Fireworks: Post-game fireworks shows provided by B.J. Alan will take place after the opener and following the Gateway Football Conference opener against rival Western Illinois on Sept. 22.
The first 15,000 fans to enter Stambaugh at the opener will receive a Penguin schedule magnet compliments of Giant Eagle and 27 First News. The Youngstown Air Base will provide a fly-over to start the game.
The Sept. 8 contest against Clarion will be the annual Senior Poster game courtesy of National City Bank and Fox 17/62. In addition, the 1982 YSU team will be honored at the game.
Numerous players will return to campus and be introduced at halftime as the first team to don the red and white on Dike Beede Field.
Defending Gateway champion Western Illinois invades Stambaugh as part of the fourth annual Trumbull County Day. The first 10,000 fans will receive a set of YSU senior trading cards compliments of the Tribune Chronicle, First Place Bank and WFMJ-TV Channel 21. The game also will feature a Harley Davidson display before the game.
Long home stand: The Penguins will open a three-week homestand on Oct. 13 against Southwest Missouri State. The first 10,000 fans will receive a 20th anniversary stadium cup from Pizza Joe's and NewsChannel 33,
Homecoming 2001 will take play on Oct. 20 against Illinois State. The annual parade and a day of activities will highlight the event. The first 7,500 fans will receive a Wendell August Forge, MetLife and WFMJ-TV Channel 21 "Penguin Rally Towel."
The homestand ends against preseason Gateway Conference favorite Western Kentucky on Oct. 27. The first 10,000 fans will receive a 20th anniversary Stambaugh Stadium poster from Pizza Hut, General Motors Lordstown Assembly and NewsChannel 33.
The regular season will end on Nov. 17 when Wofford University invades for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The annual senior day will begin with pregame senior introductions. The first 10,000 fans will receive a YSU team photo compliments of Sherwin-Williams, Wendy's and WFMJ-TV Channel 21.
The game ticket from the Wofford game also will gain fans complimentary admission to the YSU women's home basketball opener that night at Beeghly Center against Bowling Green University.
"We have worked very closely with our corporate partners to provide an exciting promotional schedule that features fireworks, premium items and individual game-ticket discounts," Love said.
"YSU football provides championship caliber play on the field and along with pre-game tailgating in the Y-103 tailgate lots, the YSU band and our lineup of promotions, should provide for a great game experience for our loyal fans throughout the fall."
Tickets on sale: Season group and individual game tickets are available at the Stambaugh Stadium ticket office. The office is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays or by calling the office at (330) 742-1YSU.
The first game played at Stambaugh Stadium was on Sept. 4, 1982, when the Penguins lost a heartbreaking 20-19 contest to the University of Akron on a last second field goal.
XPete Mollica covers YSU athletics for The Vindicator. Write him at email@example.com.