Results tagged ‘ college football ’

11/21 Football at Wrigley – Part II

Hundreds of football and Cubs fans were able to punt, pass and kick on the football field at Wrigley Field Sunday, and all for a good cause. Those who took part in the charitable event Sunday raised $50,000 for Cubs Care. Fans were allowed on the field for one hour sessions. Many brought footballs to toss around and try to kick through the goal posts. Some brought baseball and gloves.

“You can’t be on Wrigley Field and not play baseball,” one man said as he played catch.
Cheri Leeds and Kim Fortner also ran around on the football field, which was built for Saturday’s Illinois-Northwestern game. They are both teachers in Chicago and attend about half of the Cubs’ home games. This was Fortner’s second time on Wrigley’s playing surface, but she’s never been on the field for baseball. She also took part in a public skate after Wrigley hosted an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on New Year’s Day.

“I’m a diehard Cubs fan,” Fortner said.

On Monday, the grounds crew will get to work prepping the field for baseball and remove all of the sod, install a new infield and rebuild the pitcher’s mound. Opening Day is April 1.

— Carrie Muskat

11/20 East vs. west

The fans in the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field got some action in the first quarter after all. The Big Ten decided at the last minute to have both Illinois and Northwestern direct their offenses towards the west end zone for Saturday’s football game and avoid the east side because it was too close to the brick outfield wall. But that didn’t stop safety Brian Peters, who intercepted Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase in the first quarter and ran 59 yards for the touchdown. A teammate pulled Peters down in the end zone steps from the well-padded brick walls, which were determined too close for comfort.

— Carrie Muskat

11/20 Perfect day for football

There’s plenty of purple — and some orange and blue at Wrigley Field Saturday. The Northwestern football team skipped taking the “L” train and instead took buses which dropped them off at Addison and Sheffield to walk through fans and enter from the right field corner. Both schools’ marching bands are entertaining fans outside Wrigley. Temperature wise, the Cubs would take a sunny day in the upper 40s in April.

* Fans are reminded there is a food drive at Addison and Sheffield near the Billy Williams statue to benefit Lakeview Pantry.

— Carrie Muskat

11/19 Cubs surprised by Big Ten decision

Cubs president Crane Kenney said Friday he was “surprised” by the last-minute change by the Big Ten, which will eliminate use of the east end zone in the Illinois-Northwestern football game. Kenney said the safety of the student-athletes was the No. 1 priority when the game was first discussed more than one year ago.

“The essential item in our negotiations to host the football game at Wrigley Field was obtaining approval of both universities and the Big Ten for the field dimensions as related to player safety issues,” Kenney said in a statement. “The field dimension layout was delivered to the Big Ten approximately eight months ago and was approved by the conference.”

Kenney said the field was built exactly to the dimensions previously approved and a conference official performed an on-site visit at Wrigley Field last week. He said there were no issues raised at that time regarding the field dimensions, painted lines and boundaries, which had all been green-lighted by the Big Ten.

“This game would not have been scheduled if it did not pass the strict and meticulous standards of everyone involved, a process that began more than a year ago,” Kenney said. “All are in agreement Wrigley Field is a safe venue to host a football game. Other baseball parks, including tomorrow night’s game in Yankee Stadium, feature similar football field-to-venue grid dimensions and rule changes are not considered for football games played in other baseball parks.

“We have reached out to the Big Ten to further discuss the playing field,” Kenney said. “While we are surprised by this morning’s last-minute statement, all agree that tomorrow will be an historic event and a wonderful experience for the fans, the schools and the student-athletes.”

— Carrie Muskat 

11/19 Football game to use one end zone

The ivy was good enough for Sammy Sosa and Andre Dawson and Kosuke Fukudome but not for the Illinois-Northwestern football teams. The Big Ten announced Friday that Illinois and Northwestern will only use one end zone at Wrigley Field on Saturday because of safety concerns. The east end zone is too close to the right field wall, and officials feel the padding that was installed there is not sufficient to protect the players.

“It was something we’ve all had some concerns about in regard to the closeness of the right field wall at Wrigley Field,” Illinois SID Kent Brown said on WMVP AM-1000. “A decision was made with both coaching staffs and the athletic directors of both schools and the [Big Ten] commissioner to start every offensive possession and go west.

“I think it’s a student athlete safety concern that is first and foremost,” Brown said, “and we want to make sure there’s no chance for somebody to run into that wall and get seriously injured.

“It’s a unique twist to the game, but I think it’s something all parties felt was the most fair,” he said.

The last time a team played football at Wrigley was 1970 when the NFL Chicago Bears called it their home field. At that time, the field ran north-south. The Bears’ Bronko Nagurski once ran full-speed into the brick outfield wall. Upon returning to the huddle, he reportedly said, “That last guy hit me awfully hard.”

Since the Bears played, additional seats have been added at Wrigley along the left field line, which made the north-south configuration unworkable for the Illinois-Northwestern game.

The Big Ten did study the Wrigley Field layout weeks before to make sure the field fit. The Northwestern team tested Wrigley’s close quarters on Thursday, and Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald suggested he may have different game plans for each end zone to avoid injury.

For Saturday’s game, the Big Ten said all offensive plays will head toward the west end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions. All kickoffs will be kicked toward the east end zone. After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the west end zone. A coin toss Friday determined that Illinois will occupy the west team bench in the first half and Northwestern will switch in the second half and for all overtime periods.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 The color purple

The Wrigley Field marquee will switch from red to the color purple on Monday to kick off the week-long festivities leading up to Saturday’s college football game. Northwestern plays host to Illinois at the Cubs’ home, which has been converted to a football field. The Wrigley marquee was actually a blue-green color when installed for the 1934 season and remained that color until it was painted red in the mid 1960s. Saturday’s game will be the first college football game at Wrigley since 1938 and the first football game since 1970. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 Tickets available for football game

A limited number of partial view tickets for the Nov. 20 football game between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. CT. The seats for the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic will be available at These seats, primarily located in the terrace reserved and upper deck reserved sections of Wrigley Field, have been released to allow the more fans the chance to watch college football at the Cubs’ home ballpark.

These tickets will be the final inventory available for purchase to the public. Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the Cubs have each sold out of their allocations.

Partial view tickets are located throughout Wrigley Field and include occasional structural obstruction while viewing the field. This allotment of partial view tickets has been viewed and approved for sale after the final placement of the football field within the ballpark.

The game will mark the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, and first football game of any kind at the ballpark since the Chicago Bears played there in 1970. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 Purple reign at Wrigley

Wrigley Field’s fabled marquee will turn purple on Monday. The sign will be changed from red to purple to promote the Nov. 20 college football game between Northwestern and Illinois. The marquee was created by the Federated Sign Co., and was a blue-green color when it was installed for the 1934 season. It remained that color until it was painted red in the mid-1960s.
The game will be the first college football game at Wrigley since 1938, and kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/8 Touchdown

Crews installed bright yellow goal posts at Wrigley Field on Monday, positioning them in front of the Cubs’ dugout and the right field bleachers. The field is being converted for the Nov. 20 college football game between Northwestern and Illinois. The ballpark has been decorated with purple banners to announce the game. This will be the first football game at Wrigley since 1970 and first collegiate game there since 1938. The Chicago Bears called Wrigley Field home from 1921 to 1970. However, the field at that time ran north-south. The field for the Nov. 20 game will be east-west.

— Carrie Muskat