Northwestern is down by four, and with 20 seconds remaining in the game, Wildcat quarterback Zak Kustok throws an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Sam Simmons for a touchdown. That touchdown earned Northwestern a 54-51 victory over Michigan, an exciting finish to game with a combined 105 points scoring and 1,189 yards in total offense.
Fast forward 11 years, Michigan and Northwestern meet again at a packed Ryan Field and while the desire to win remains the same, much has changed. This time around the game will be played in primetime on BTN and the conference has been split into two divisions.
The Big Ten Football Saturday crew of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will travel to Evanston on Saturday to host a live pre-game show, BTN Countdown to Kickoff, presented by State Farm, at 6 PM ET. The one-hour special will preview the network’s first primetime Big Ten Conference game of the season, as Northwestern hosts Legends Division rival Michigan at 7 PM ET under the lights at Ryan Field.
Saturday will mark BTN’s first live pregame show from inside a Big Ten football stadium.
“Bringing our Big Ten Football Saturday crew on-site before one of our biggest games of the season makes perfect sense,” BTN President Mark Silverman said. “Having a live show from Evanston will allow us to give viewers a true sense of the excitement that comes with a Big Ten night game.”
While Saturday marks the first BTN pregame show from inside a football stadium, it is not the first time BTN has produced a pregame show live from a Big Ten facility. Last February, BTN produced a pregame show from the Kohl Center in Madison for the Badgers’ men’s basketball game against Ohio State.
“We got great feedback from that experience, and we’re always looking for new ways to highlight our programming,” said Kyle Coughlin, BTN assignment manager.
BTN hosts and analysts will be located at a desk on the 20-yard line in the southeast corner of Ryan Field (photo album).
Revsine, DiNardo and Griffith will start their day with the 11AM ET edition of BTN Football Auto-Owners Insurance Pregame from the BTN studios before they head to Evanston.
Both head coaches will speak to sideline reporter Lisa Byington on the field before the game. The pregame show will include a feature story on Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa and the influence former head coach Randy Walker had in recruiting him as part of his final recruiting class (bonus clip). The show will also feature a highlight reel of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson’s best moments thus far in the 2011 season. Plus, BTN will reveal the fans’ selection as the top recent touchdown from the Michigan-Northwestern series. Fans have been voting this week on the network’s Facebook page.
Kustok and former Michigan wide receiver David Terrell will join the pregame show to offer their memories of the 2000 Michigan vs. Northwestern classic.
Former Michigan football standout Dhani Jones will also join the crew to discuss his relationship with Michigan head coach Brady Hoke as well as his new show BTN LiveBIG.
Revsine, DiNardo and Griffith will return for halftime and postgame coverage on the field. Winning coaches and players are anticipated to be to be interviewed following the game on the set as part of postgame coverage.
“You will see, hear and feel all the excitement surrounding Ryan Field that night,” said Coughlin. “This will be a very special broadcast for us.”
Tom Hart and Derek Rackley will call the game from the press box, with Byington reporting from the sidelines.
— Written by Mallory Treleaven