Northwestern game brings national spotlight to Evanston

October 5, 2013 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

A lot of long faces in Evanston late Saturday night, as fans streamed out of Ryan Field extremely disappointed. They will be talking about the fumbled quarterback snap for some time.

Fans said they'd been waiting for this game all week, some all year.

A sea of purple and a fair amount of Ohio State red flooded Ryan Field for this game for the ages.

"Ohio State coming in ranked No. 4. We're 16, ranked for the first time in decades, forever, this is our opportunity. This is our chance," said Northwestern student Jonathan Yu.

It was the hottest ticket in college football this weekend, this regular season matchup, with the feel of a bowl game.

"This game has been circled on our calendar for months," said Northwestern alum Laura Bleill. "This game is huge, it doesn't get any bigger than this."

"Oh, yeah. It's definitely the biggest game we've had so far this year and maybe the biggest game of the year," Northwestern student Ryan Legraw said.

This battle of previously-unbeatens brought ESPN's Game Day program to Evanston.

Many Wildcats fans were a part of the national broadcast, arriving in the wee hours of the morning.

"I mean, it's what you ask for, you know? We all went to school here, not necessarily for the athletics, but it's amazing to have this type of experience now," said Northwestern alum Matt Deutschman.

"Nice. Very nice. Beautiful up here on the lake. And people here are awesome," said Ohio State fan Jim Rogers.

For Evanston to be considered the center of the college football universe this weekend is a testament to how far Northwestern football has come under coach Pat Fitzgerald.

"It's been a fun evolution," said ESPN commentator David Pollack. "And he's a guy that you watch as a player you liked, and you respected, and now he's a guy that you watch as a coach, and you respect what he's been able to do."

"I remember when I used to come to the games. And there was the band and about ten students who were there. And we actually didn't need tickets to get in. You just had to swipe your Wild Card," Northwestern alum Michelle Price.

Times have certainly changed. This game was a sell-out, of course, with last-minute tickets selling for as much as 300 dollars.

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