According to ESPN Chicago, and ESPN 1000, they’ll only be using one end zone tomorrow at the Wrigleyville Classic, the game between Illinois and Northwestern at Wrigley Field. This is due to space constraints and safety concerns.
This in-state Big Ten rivalry game, the quirkiest game in all of college football just became quirkier, and more of a novelty.
The east end zone is feet away from the right-field wall, and although there is padding, there was still concerns that injuries could take place. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald had said he would have different game plans for the different end zones to avoid the possibility of injury.
Later Illinois Sports Information Director Kent Brown was quoted:
“A decision was made with both coaching staffs and the athletic directors of both schools and the [Big Ten] commissioner to start every possession and go west,” Brown said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “Student-athlete safety concerns is first and foremost.”
Pictured above you’ll see the end zone they won’t be using. So I guess no kicks will be flying into the bleachers, Sheffield Avenue or the rooftops across the street.
It will be interesting how they figure this all out tomorrow- if someone gets a pick-six etc. Both teams will be on the same sideline, NU has a “home-field advantage” in that they will be closer to the red zone.
So like I said a quirky game just got quirkier.
The following rule changes were determined to be the best of all options and will be in effect for this game only based on the unique layout of the field.
1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.
2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.
3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.
4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.
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