Illinois Chosen for Friday Game in 2017; Soldier Field Agreement Revised
Multiple changes were announced today regarding future Illinois football schedules. First, the Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers will play on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in primetime at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. In addition, the University of Illinois will discontinue the biannual game at Soldier Field against Northwestern. Finally, Illinois indicated its intent to continue playing non-conference games at Soldier Field in the future.
“We are excited about these changes to our upcoming football schedules,” Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said. “The Friday game will provide a national platform for a marquee matchup against Nebraska.”
“The national television exposure of a Friday night game on one of the major networks will help build our program,” Head Coach Lovie Smith said.
The next scheduled Soldier Field appearance for the Fighting Illini will be Sept. 15, 2018, when Illinois hosts South Florida.
“We feel strongly that we should play our traditional rivalry games in Champaign, but at the same time we are committed to a strong presence in Chicago,” Whitman said. “Our intent is to play a major non-conference opponent at Soldier Field once every four years. Our team and fans enjoyed the game against Washington in 2013. It is important to maintain exposure in Chicago, and this also allows our fans and student-athletes an opportunity to experience Soldier Field.”
“With our strong ties to Chicago, playing Illinois football in historic Soldier Field will be a highlight for our players,” Smith said. “Hosting a game in Chicago is great for recruiting while also giving the largest base of Illinois graduates access to Fighting Illini football.”
**This content was extracted from a press release. Please contact Kent Brown (217-244-6533) with any direct questions.