Wrigley Field prepares for Illinois vs. Northwestern

Tue, Nov 16

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The few times Northwestern sophomore Demetrius Fields has taken the L train into Chicago he's closed his eyes and napped until reaching his destination.

On Saturday, the Dallas native expects his eyes to remain wide open. Fields and his fellow Wildcats will board the L Saturday morning and depart for the Addison Red Line stop before playing Illinois in the first football game at Wrigley Field since 1970. A sellout crowd of around 40,000 is expected in the inaugural Allstate Wrigleyville Classic.

"I'm one of the most oblivious people," Fields said. "I've been downtown maybe a total of four times since I've been here. Maybe I'll stay awake this time and look at the sights when we're going through the city."

In recent years, Wrigley Field has hosted concerts and the NHL staged its Winter Classic in 2009 with the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Detroit Red Wings. But football has been missing since the Chicago Bears moved out following the 1970 season.

And it's been an even longer absence for college football. DePaul and St. Louis, two schools that no longer offer the sport, clashed in 1938. Illinois and Northwestern last met at Wrigley Field in 1923, 15 years after the Cubs' last World Series championship.

A sight to see for many in the Wrigleyville neighborhood was the painting of the historic Cubs' marquee sign at Clark and Addison. The sign was transformed from its classic red to Northwestern purple.

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