Wrigley Field set to Host Illinois vs. Northwestern in November!!!

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CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs and Northwestern University today announced the Northwestern Wildcats football team will host the University of Illinois at Wrigley Field Saturday, November 20, 2010, at 11 a.m. CT. The matchup will mark the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, when DePaul University played home games at the ballpark. The contest will be the first football game of any kind at the Friendly Confines since the Chicago Bears last played there in December of 1970.

Having Wrigley Field as the backdrop for a college football rivalry with such a rich history is exciting since the ballpark has gone nearly 40 years since last hosting a football game,” said Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts. “It is terrific to partner with Northwestern University and an honor to play host to college football and great programs like NU and the U of I.”

Tickets for this game will be available through the Northwestern Ticket Office. In order to purchase a ticket for the November 20 game, fans must purchase season tickets for Northwestern ‘ s five home games at Ryan Field. Season tickets are now on sale through Wildcat ticket outlets (Ryan Field Box Office, 847-491-CATS [2287] or NUsports.com).

The game will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN 2, and will also be carried on WGN Radio (720 AM) and WNUR Radio (89.3 FM).

“To be certain, we are thrilled to be showcasing Northwestern football at Wrigley Field, one of the most storied sporting venues in the world,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern Director of Athletics and Recreation. “It ‘ s been a privilege to work with the Chicago Cubs organization on this partnership, and I want to personally thank Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney, along with their executive team, for all of the time and effort it has taken to make this game a reality. In addition, I want to thank our University administration who were involved with this event throughout.

“The true winner in this special game will be our student-athletes and fans. We have every intention to make this year ‘ s annual rivalry game a spectacular and memorable event. We were all captivated by the Wrigley Field atmosphere during the NHL ‘ s Winter Classic, and we want to recreate that fantastic fan experience, this time with college football.”

This will be the first time in more than 87 years that Northwestern and Illinois will play at Wrigley Field. On October 27, 1923, the Wildcats and the Illini squared off at the Friendly Confines (then called Cubs Park ) in front of 32,000 fans. This year’s Northwestern-Illinois game with mark the 104th game between the Big Ten Conference rivals since the two first met in 1892.

Wrigley Field, built in 1914 and home of the Cubs since 1916, regularly hosted football games from 1916-70, including roughly 370 NFL games. The primary football tenants were the Chicago Bears, who called Wrigley Field home from 1921-70, but the ballpark also hosted the Chicago Tigers (1920) and the Chicago Cardinals (1920, 1931-39). Besides Northwestern, DePaul and the University of Illinois , other colleges to play at Wrigley Field include Loyola, which in 1926 hosted Arkansas Tech before playing DePaul a year later.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL

Northwestern is savoring its most successful stretch of football in school history. Since 1995, the Wildcats have posted nine seasons with six or more victories. In the last decade (2000-09), the Wildcats won six or more games seven times (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and touted six bowl-eligible teams. Northwestern finished the last decade with an overall record of 61-60. In the last 15 years, only Ohio State and Michigan have won more Big Ten titles than the Wildcats ‘ three conference crowns. NU has won a combined 17 games the past two seasons, which ranks as the third-most wins in a two-year period in school history. The Wildcats are coming off a 2010 New Year ‘ s Day appearance in the Outback Bowl.

Off the field, Northwestern ‘ s football program is shining, too. The Wildcats had a school-record 60 players earn a 3.0 grade point average for the 2010 winter quarter, and for the second time in school history, the team earned a cumulative GPA of better than 3.0. Northwestern had a school-record 29 football student-athletes earn Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2009, with two of those individuals being named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans. Northwestern ‘ s football student-athletes also volunteer over 800 hours of combined community outreach each year, as well.

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