Charleston Southern will play the University of Indiana on Saturday, October 7, at Memorial Stadium, CSU Athletic Director Hank Small announced on Tuesday.
The game comes as a result of Indiana inviting CSU to fill out its schedule after the Hoosiers' September 13 contest against FIU was canceled due to the effects of Hurricane Irma. The game will replace both CSU and Indiana's 2017 open dates.
Head Coach Mark Tucker sees the added game as a tremendous opportunity for the Buccaneers' program.
"We're only guaranteed 11 opportunities in a season and with Hurricane Irma striking the East Coast, that prevented us from playing one of those games," Tucker said. "We've been blessed to have another opportunity within our open date to compete against a Big Ten team in Indiana. It's always exciting for our kids to go into big time venues and have the opportunity to compete."
Losing the potential bye week prior to starting conference play did create a discussion among the CSU coaching staff, but to a man the Bucs were eager for the opportunity to take on the Hoosiers.
"When hearing about the possibility of picking up a game during our open week, I collected the staff and we discussed it thoroughly," Tucker said. "To a man, our staff wanted to play. We discussed all the potential pitfalls, and then contacted our captains to include in the discussion. We were all adamant about wanting to play the game."
Senior linebacker and 2017 captain Bobby Ruff was excited about the opportunity for the Buccaneers to play another Power 5 opponent this season.
"When Coach Tucker called the captains yesterday to ask our opinions, it was a unanimous yes from all of us," Ruff said. "We realized that playing against a Big Ten team was a challenge, but it would only help us as we prepare for conference."
He continued, "We all agreed it was a good opportunity to play another one of those big games. When you get the chance to play a team like Indiana, it's exciting to go into that environment and play against a good opponent. It gives us another chance to show off our team and our abilities at a national level."
Kickoff time will be determined once the Big Ten Conference sets the television schedule for the weekend.
Indiana is the second Big Ten opponent the Bucs will face in program history. CSU previously traveled to Illinois in 2012. The October 7 contest will also be CSU's second game against a Power 5 opponent this season after the Bucs opened the year at Mississippi State on September 2.
"Any time you get an opportunity to play against a quality, Big Ten opponent like Indiana, you have to be excited to get them on your schedule," Small commented. "They went toe-to-toe with Ohio State in the opening weekend and we know that it will be a good game for our team to help us continue to grow and develop for our conference schedule."
The Buccaneers continue the 2017 season this weekend at Elon. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Rhodes Stadium.