OU-Nebraska ink football deal

Ohio University head football coach Frank Solich speaks prior to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho in early January. Ohio and Nebraska have agreed to a game in 2026 between the two programs, the first-ever meeting.

Ohio University has fielded a football team since 1894.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, football has been on campus since 1890.

In a few more years, the two programs will finally meet on the gridiron.

Ohio will travel to Nebraska for the 2026 season opener at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, both programs announced on Thursday. The game is scheduled for Sept. 5, 2026.

It will be the first-ever meeting between the Bobcats and the Cornhuskers — two programs now linked because of current OU head coach Frank Solich.

Solich is beginning his 16th season at Ohio’s head coach in 2020, and is the Mid-American Conference career-leader in coaching victories with 113. He’s helped lead OU to 11 bowl-game appearances, the first five bowl game victories in program history, and four MAC East Division titles.

Prior to coming to Athens, Solich served six years as the head coach at Nebraska — a stint that capped a nearly 30-year run as part of the Cornhuskers’ program, first as a player, then assistant coach and finally as the head of the program.

Would Ohio and Nebraska have ever played if not for the connection with Solich? Perhaps, perhaps not.

But it’s now a contractually obligated game and Solich will be the center piece of the game when it happens.

“I have been fortunate to be involved with both institutions and have many good friends and colleagues at both,” Solich said in a released statement.

“This will be a matchup I know the passionate fan bases of Ohio and Nebraska will enjoy.”

Solich was 58-19 in six seasons as the head coach at Nebraska, and piled up nine or more wins in five of his six seasons. The Cornhuskers had top 10 finishes in 1999, 2000 and 2001, but Solich was let go regardless following an 8-3 regular-season in 2003.

Solich surfaced a year later at Ohio, and immediately turned the Bobcats into one of the most consistent and competitive teams in the MAC.

Solich and Ohio announced a two-year contract extension in January that will keep him under contract through the 2021 season.

Ohio finished 2019 at 7-6 and ended the year with a win over Nevada (30-21) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Jan. 3. The Bobcats will begin the 2020 season on Sept. 5 against North Carolina Central inside Peden Stadium.

Ohio Football Future announced non-conference games 2020 Sept. 5 — North Carolina Central Sept. 12 — at Boston College; Sept. 19 — Marshall; Sept. 26 — at Texas State


Sept. 4 – Syracuse; Sept. 11 – Gardner-Webb; Sept. 18 – at Louisiana; Sept. 25 – at Northwestern


Sept. 3 – Florida Atlantic; Sept. 10 – at Penn State; Sept. 17 – at Iowa State; Sept. 24 – Fordham


Sept. 2 – LIU; Sept. 9 – at Florida Atlantic; Sept. 16 – Iowa State; Sept. 30 – at Rutgers


Aug. 31 – at Syracuse; Sept. 7 – South Alabama; Sept. 14 – Morgan State; Sept. 21 – at Kentucky


Sept. 13 – at Illinois ; Sept. 20 – at Marshall


Sept. 5 – at Nebraska; Sept. 12 – Cincinnati; Sept. 19 – at South Alabama


Sept. 11 – vs. Marshall

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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