Illinois, Northwestern Game at Wrigley: Offense Will Only Use One End Zone

Only one end zone will be used for offense Saturday at Wrigley Field for the Illinois-Northwestern game because of safety concerns. All action for offense will be westbound. The east end zone will not be used for offense

The last time a college football game was played in Wrigley Field was 1938. This time the tight space has been deemed not safe for a deliberate offense toward the east end zone. An interception or a fumble might result in a score in the east end zone, but all offense will be headed toward the west end zone.

Even with extra padding, the NCAA and coaches’ and players’ concerns resulted in a decision to play a game with a one-way offense.

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.

The change was announced last minute, on Friday. Here are some responses …

NU Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald, “I think this is a great decision.”

Chicago Cubs President Crane Kenney, “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.”

Father of NU player Brian Mulroe, Marty Mulroe, ” From what I hear about how the end zone’s going to be set up, he should be running toward home plate a lot tomorrow, for touchdowns for Northwestern … so we’re excited about that.