Tal Brody closing in on 70

Tal Brody closing in on 70

ILLINI LEGENDS, LISTS & LORE:  Memorable Opening-Game Plays


Nothing helps fans enjoy games more than a memorable play, especially in a season opening contest. In Illinois’ 2000 opener, a 62-yard run by Rocky Harvey paced the Illini to a convincing 35-6 victory over Middle Tennessee. One season before that, Eugene Wilson’s 65-yard punt return led UI past Arkansas State. And, in Illinois’ 1991 season-opening win vs. East Carolina, Mike Poloskey recorded a record-tying four quarterback sacks. Here are some other big plays by the Illini in recent lid-lifters: 


1975: Scott Studwell returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown as Illinois beat host Iowa, 27-12.


1980: In Mike White’s coaching debut, Illinois took advantage of a 53-yard touchdown run by Mike Holmes to defeat Michigan State.


1984: In the earliest season-opener ever, David Wilson’s first-quarter 33-yard reception from Jack Trudeau gave Illinois a 7-0 lead. The Illini went on to defeat Northwestern, 24-16.


1989: A tipped-pass reception by Shawn Wax resulted in a 53-yard touchdown, beginning Illinois’ comeback victory on national television vs. Southern California.


1994: It wasn’t a victory, but Simeon Rice had one of his best efforts vs. Washington State, sacking Washington State’s quarterbacks five times.


2001: Brandon Lloyd’s 49-yard TD catch in the second quarter helped Illinois destroy host California in the season opener, 44-17.


2005:  It was only a two-yard effort, but Pierre Thomas’ overtime touchdown completed Illinois’ come-from-behind victory vs. Rutgers in Ron Zook’s coaching debut.


Illini Birthdays

Sunday: Carl Perry, wrestling (36)

Monday: Dick Dorr, football (70)

Tuesday:  Scott Studwell, football (59)

Wednesday: Becky Biehl, golf (40)

Thursday: Perdita Felicien, track & field (33)

Friday: J.J. Simmons, football (29)

Saturday: Tal Brody, basketball (70)


By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore.


Get Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @B1GLLL and on Facebook at Big Ten Legends, Lists & Lore


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