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Saturday 19th Aug 2017

Speaking as one who likes to push the envelope, I was kind of amused to see that over the weekend, Northwestern and Illinois squared off at none other than Wrigley Field, while Norte Dame took on the Army and Yankee Stadium.

To start, celebrating their 50th match-up, Army played host to the Fighting Irish in the South Bronx, this time at the New Yankee Stadium, which joins a celebrated list of enrions, including the Old Yankees Stadium, Ebbets Field, Shea Stadium, and the Polo Grounds.

Unfortunately, the home field advantage mattered little to our brave lads representing the Armed Services, as Notre Dame pushed towards their annual bowl invitation by trouncing the soldiers 27-3.

Apparently it was a pretty exciting fete, which sold out to 54, 521 raucus spectators in what was otherwise just a standard collegiate gridiron game.

Unlike the second city adventure that pitted Northwestern indiginous to the Chicago area, with the University of Illinois, a team representing the bigger legislative whole under which the windy city is located.

As my sort of adoptive second home--for it is now common knowledge that I am a Bears fan--I get a kick out of watching the Big Ten teams in a different way these days, and, well, the fact that the two teams matched up within the Friendly Confines seemed odd to me. After I checked out the guidelines under which the team played, I had this mixed set of thoughts.

However, going in the rules for the game were modified to, "Offensive plays ran only toward the west end zone near the third-base dugout. The east end zone in right field came within a foot or so of a heavily padded brick wall. So after changes in possession, the ball was repositioned."

Which is kind of weird when you think about it.

Additionally, with the west end zone only in use, each side's QB had to periodically turn all the way around rather than simply glance toward their side to get calls from the coaches. Not to mention that because the teams shared a sideline, they switched locations at halftime.

Before those same Bears moved permanently to Soldier Field in 1970, they actually played at Wrigley, although this was the first college game held north side since 1938 when DePaul and Baylor mixed it up.

As it turned out, the game was an offensive show for the Fighting Illini's RB Mikel Leshoure ran for a school-record 330 yards and two touchdowns, and only once did the eastern end zone fall into play. That was when the Wildcats Brian Peters ran a pick 59 yards into the east end.

I can think of some reasons it would be a lot of fun to watch--in fact attend--and apparently the sell out crowd and entire Wrigleyville neighborhood was on the bandwagon.

On the other hand, kind of stupid to have to adjust the rules that governes every other game and location in college football.

Still, had I been in town, and someone said they had an extra ticket, well, I would have been hard pressed to turn it down.

 

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