Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
I wrote in today's paper about how unique Saturday's Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field would be. But it just got far more unique.
After discussing the proximity of the heavily padded brick wall in right field to the back of the east end zone -- it's only inches behind the back line -- the Big Ten decided the danger to players is too great. The solution: The game will be played with one end zone.
Both teams will drive toward the west end zone, and whenever there is a change of possession, the ball will be repositioned and the offense pointed west. Only a punt return, interception return or fumble recovery can score in the east end zone, plays that should not involve the back line.
Since the game is only using the north sideline, the teams will also switch benches at halftime. Illinois will be closest to the end zone in the first half, and Northwestern gets that bench in the second half. It also means ball-hawkers hoping to catch a football on Sheffield Avenue, beyond the right-field bleachers, won't get that chance.
It's going to make an unusual game even more odd, but that should add to the fun. It does call into question whether future football games will be played there, as the Cubs have hoped.
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