College Football returns to the ’Friendly Confines": Illini dominate Northwestern at the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field

November 21 2010

As many of you know, or really, for those that have to put up with my tweets and Facebook posts about the University of Illinois Fighting Illini college (American) football, this weekend was a special treat. The Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats play every year in what is very much a rivalry game. This year, in a twist designed to just bring media attention to both schools, the game was played not at the home field of either team, but at Wrigley Field. Yes, the same Wrigley Field that the Chicago Cubs play 60 some odd baseball games every year.

The game was already being hyped as a big game with ESPN Game Day coming to the game. And then the Big Ten ruled that the east end zone was too close to the famed Ivy wall for any use. Here is a picture:

Wrigley end zone

It turns out that the NCAA sent the Big Ten and both teams a letter. Turns out there needs to be ten yards between the endzone lines any wall. And since there was only one foot, the NCAA would not approve of the field for use. So if the Big Ten went forward with the game, the NCAA insurance policy would not cover either school.

So all offense went towards the west end zone, which faced the 3rd base dugout. After every change of possession, the teams would change sides. And both teams were on the north end of the field on the sidelines. What did this do to the game? It dragged it out. This was the longest college football game I have been too - including the Rose Bowl with all the half time festivities.

What was the outcome?

Image:College Football returns to the ’Friendly Confines": Illini dominate Northwestern at the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field

Illinois won 48 to 27, with Mikel Leshore rushing for 330 yards. That broke the single game yard record for an Illini player, oh and it was the most yards of any player in a BCS game this year. Mikel got National Player of the Week award. The Illini became bowl eligible - and since this is the Big Ten, will go to a bowl this year. For me, it was great to see NU get buried. They have been running these ads and billboards saying 'Northwestern - Chicago's Big Ten Team!' Well NU, your wrong. The Illini are the Chicago Big Ten team.

Next year, how about they move this game to Solider Field? Now that would rock. And they can paint it Orange :-D