Citing safety concerns, the Big Ten announced that offenses will only drive toward one end zone in this weekend’s game between Northwestern and Illinois.
The lack of any space between the end zone in the outfield and the wall led to much discussion as to whether the playing field would unnecessarily put players at risk. As a result, only one end zone will be in play, barring any fumble, interception or blocked kick returns for touchdowns.
According to the announcement:
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 sideline note is relevant because both teams will be on the same side of the field, so being positioned near the East end zone is a significant disadvantage (see photos below).