Rivalry returns to Chicago


Fireworks shoot over Soldier Field in Chicago during the Illinois vs. Washington football game, which was the last time the Illini played in Chicago. Illinois signed to play Northwestern at Soldier Field three times during the next five seasons.

By Sean Neumann

The Illinois football program announced Monday it has signed a three-year agreement to play at Soldier Field.

The Illini will play in Chicago against Northwestern in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Illinois will face Northwestern on Nov. 28 this season. Both teams will again face off at the historic Chicago Bears stadium in 2017 and 2019. These games will take the place of Illinois’ home games against Northwestern in those seasons.

“I’m pleased that the Fighting Illini will be returning to Chicago, providing an opportunity for players, coaches, students, fans and Chicago alumni to gather in the country’s greatest and most-spirited sports city,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release. “From the NFL draft to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, Chicago is solidifying its position as a first-class sports and tourism destination.” 

Illinois last played at Soldier Field on Sept. 14, 2013, in a 34-24 loss to Washington. The Illini last played Northwestern in Chicago on Nov. 20, 2010 when Illinois won 48-27 at Wrigley Field.

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Illinois is 4-6 against Northwestern in the past decade.

Memorial Stadium season ticket holders will be offered a special price for the game, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said in a press release Monday. The Soldier Field game will be sold separately from season ticket packages.

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @Neumannthehuman.