Windy City, Here Come The Hawkeyes!

June 5, 2006

Coach Kirk Ferentz’s nationally ranked University of Iowa football team will open the 2007 season in a neutral site that is likely to be a huge hit with thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes in addition to thousands of alumni of the UI: Chicago’s history-filled Soldier Field.

The Hawkeyes will square off against Mid-American Conference powerhouse Northern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 1. The Labor Day Weekend game will be the first NCAA Division IA football game played in the lakefront facility since its 2003 renovation. It will also mark the first appearance for both teams in Soldier Field for football.

The joint announcement was made by University of Iowa Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby and Northern Illinois Athletics Director Jim Phillips.

“We’re very excited to be playing Northern Illinois in such a historic venue as Soldier Field,” said Bowlsby.

“Northern Illinois is an outstanding institution with an excellent football program. We look forward to the renewal of the series this October in Iowa City. And, I expect an awful lot of Hawkeye fans will find their way into Chicago to see this game next year. It should be a special day for both programs.”

“For all Huskie fans, Hawkeye fans, and college football fans in general, this is a win-win-win situation,” NIU’s Phillips added.

“For us to attract a quality Big Ten program such as Iowa into Soldier Field is tremendous. It’s a terrific match-up between two schools who have thousands of Chicago area alumni. For us, this is creative scheduling. What’s better than a `home’ game in Soldier Field just 65 miles down the road and in the nation’s No. 3 media market?

” It’s a great game, an even better venue, and an attractive date for television,” he added. “That said, I would also like to give a special thanks to Rick Chryst (Mid-American Conference commissioner), Jim Delany (Big Ten commissioner), and Bob Bowlsby, who really helped us put this package together.”

The 2007 game is the second in a two-game set between the two schools. Northern Illinois will travel to Iowa City this fall for an Oct. 28 date inside historic Kinnick Stadium. The 2007 NIU-Iowa game will be the seventh in the series and the first six in a location other than Iowa City.