Big Ten football

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

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USA Today

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Northwestern football will no longer host their game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field. The university announced the decision on Wednesday.

The Wildcats were supposed to play the Badgers at the Friendly Confines on Nov. 7. Although the university didn’t officially announce it, team's website says the game will be played at Ryan Field.

“This is a disappointing conclusion to reach, but absolutely the right one in our current environment,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. “The uncertainty of football and baseball schedules, and the possibility of limited attendance, made this an easy choice to make for our student-athletes and fans.

“We’re grateful for our outstanding partners from the Cubs, and look forward to bringing the passion and pageantry of college football gameday to the city’s north side when we can do so safely and securely with a packed house.”

Northwestern initially brought college football back to Wrigley in 2010. Previously the last college football game at Wrigley was played in 1938. Since then, Northwestern has hosted both lacrosse and baseball games at Clark and Addison.

The university is still on track to kick off their season on Sept. 5 at Michigan State.

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Northwestern Wildcats athletic department begins phased return to campus

Northwestern Wildcats athletic department begins phased return to campus

Professional, collegiate and prep sports have been on hold in Illinois since mid-March but it looks like there may be more light at the end of the tunnel. This time, in Evanston.

Northwestern University announced Thursday that a phased reopening of the athletic department, in tandem with NU’s overall policy for a return to campus, will include student athlete workouts on Monday June 22.

The relaunch of athletics at Northwestern during the COVID-19 pandemic comes as the state of Illinois is progressing in its own planned reopening, as dictated by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The sports medicine staff, athletic trainers and student-athletes with post-injury needs were welcomed back earlier this month and other select groups will be admitted back to campus next week.

Athletes will be required to complete a full physical upon arrival in Evanston on June 22. They will be screened before entering on-site facilities by means of a wellness check and a no-touch temperature scan.

Facility access will be managed through one entrance and exit. Locker facilities and lounges will remain closed, though, along with dining centers.

[MORE: Shortened NFL preseason puts big group of players at a disadvantage]

The Wildcats football team, along with both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, are penciled in to begin those voluntary workouts a week from Monday. Each unit should have plenty of motivation once they hit the playing surface.

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald and company are eager to put last year’s 3-9 mark behind them. On the hardwood, Chris Collins’ group needs a quick bounce-back after an 8-23 mark last season while the women’s team, under the tutelage of Big Ten Coach of the Year Joe McKeown, are looking to build off a stellar 2019-20 campaign. They won the their first conference championship since 1989-90 and boasted a school record 26 wins.

 

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Edgy Tim's top five Illinois high school quarterbacks for the Class of 2021

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's top five Illinois high school quarterbacks for the Class of 2021

The upcoming high school football season should have some quality talent under center. Here are my top five quarterbacks within Illinois for the Class of 2021. 

1. J.J. McCarthy - Nazareth Academy, 6-foot-2 195 pounds (Michigan): McCarthy has added more weight and muscle this offseason and is on track to become one of the best quarterbacks to ever hail from the Land of Lincoln.

2. Athan Kaliakmanis - Antioch, 6-foot-4, 195 pounds (Minnesota): Kaliakmanis saw his 2019 junior season cut short to injury. He is a terrific all-around athlete who is primed for a huge senior season.

3. Tyler Macon - East St. Louis, 6-foot-0, 185 pounds (Missouri): Macon was the state's MVP in 2019 as he lead the Flyers to a 14-0 record and a 6A state title. Missouri lands another top-notch name from the Metro East region. 

4. Justin Lynch - Mount Carmel, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds (Temple): It’s very likely that Lynch will remind you of his older brother/head coach Jordan Lynch: a tough, hard-nosed dual-threat quarterback. The sky is the limit for Justin.

5. Ethan Hampton - Aurora Christian, 6-foot-3 185 pounds (NIU): Hampton has been a highly productive player for the Eagles. He has an excellent arm, touch and accuracy while also serving as a threat running the football. 

On The Rise?

Michael Brescia - Hinsdale Central, 6-foot-3 195 pounds: Brescia has the size, look and overall physical tools to develop into a FBS-level signal caller. 

Tommy Rittenhouse - Wheaton St. Francis, 6-foot-0 180 pounds: Rittenhouse is an electric playmaker who was on a serious roll in 2019 before suffering an injury.

Anthony Sayles - Niles Notre Dame, 6-foot-3  200 pounds: Sayles is also a standout in basketball for the Dons. He could play a few different positions in college.

Ty Michael - O'Fallon, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds: Michael gets bigger, stronger and better every time I see him in person.

Reed Braundmeier - Breese Mater Dei, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds: Downstate signalcaller is a big, strong and accurate passer who crushes the all-important eyeball test.