Each week this fall, we’ll look back at how the ‘83 Illini were doing in what turned out to be a magical run to the Rose Bowl. Today: Through the gauntlet
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Mike White’s streaking Illini quelled a Purdue uprising by trampling it into the wet but firm Ross-Ade stadium turf here Saturday.
Senior halfback Dwight Beverly erupted for 179 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore fullback Thomas Rooks literally ripped off a 9-yard TD run to provide the 6-1 Illini with a 35-21 Big Ten triumph.
Riding the most exciting October surge in the school’s history — striving to defeat Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan in one giant Octoberfest — the Illini carry a six-game win streak and a likely Top 10 ranking against visiting Michigan on Saturday. The matchup of 5-0 Big Ten co-leaders at Memorial Stadium will be televised by CBS-TV at 11:35 a.m.
“We’re playing in the Rose Bowl next weekend, not January 2,” said cornerback
Mike Heaven, whose two interceptions sparked a harried Illini defense. “That’s the game we’ve been waiting for.”
The six-game win streak is the longest since 1953, placing the Illini within reach of a possible undefeated, untied conference record for the first time since 1927, when Bob Zuppke’s post-Grange team played just five league opponents. The current Illini are playing that many in just the month of October, and against the league’s five toughest rivals.
With dark clouds hanging low but somehow holding their Saturday load over Ross-Ade, the Illini started fast and finished faster, but were nearly blown out of the saddle by shotgun-passing Scott Campbell during the middle segment.
Campbell, avoiding Illinois’ rush with quick, accurate tosses netting 388 yards, brought his 3-year anti-Illini bombardment to 70 strikes in 118 passes, accounting for 943 yards and 9 TD’s. Beaten in 1978-79-80-81 by Purdue, the Illini dodged Campbell’s bullets 38-34 last year and employed a devastating ground attack to offset Campbell’s 30-for-43 accuracy Saturday.
“I’m glad he’s graduating,” said White. “He looks like an All-American every time we play Purdue. I feel very fortunate to get out of here with a win.”
Beverly, maintaining a 1,000-yard season goal (he has 554), was a whirling dervish against a bending, breaking Boilermaker defense. He squirted and bounded for 31 eye-popping yards in the second quarter, setting up a spinning, second-effort TD run of 9 yards by fullback Thomas Rooks.
1. Nebraska 8-0
2. Texas 6-0
3. North Carolina 7-0
4. Auburn 6-1
5. Florida 6-0-1
6. Georgia 6-0-1
7. Miami (Fla.) 7-1
8. Michigan 6-1
9. Illinois 6-1
10. SMU 5-1
11. Washington 6-1
12. West Virginia 6-1
13. Maryland 6-1
14. Oklahoma 5-2
15. BYU 6-1
16. Ohio State 5-2
17. Iowa 5-2
18. Alabama 4-2
19. Boston College 5-1
19. Notre Dame 5-2
And we mean 10. No Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland or Rutgers to worry about. Here are the league’s standings after the Oct. 22 games:
Big Ten Overall
Illinois 5-0 6-1
Michigan 5-0 6-1
Iowa 3-2 5-2
Ohio State 3-2 5-2
Wisconsin 3-2 5-2
Indiana 2-3 3-4
Purdue 1-3-1 1-5-1
Northwestern 2-3 2-5
Michigan St. 0-4-1 2-4-1
Minnesota 0-5 1-6
30 years ago this week ...
— U.S. Senate establishes Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
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— Grenada General Hudson Austin forms “revolutionary council” after coup
— IBM-PC DOS Version 2.1 released.
— Bonnie Tyler’s “Totals Eclipse of the Heart” is nation’s No. 1 single
— Armed man crashes gate at Augusta National Golf Course demanding conversation with President Reagan