'83: A season to remember ... David Williams

'83: A season to remember ... David Williams

What do you remember most about that game?
We just lost to Missouri, and we were still trying to find our way. I was subbing in and out every play with Cam Benson. It was a night game, and it was the first time my big brother Oliver got to see me play.  That was pretty cool. I learned a lot in that game. I learned that I belonged. I learned that our team belonged. We hung with Missouri, and we could have won that game. But we didn’t know how to win. Everybody was so new. The defensive guys were new. A lot of the offensive guys were new. Trudeau, that was his second game starting. Stanford had a big safety, and he crushed me. I was laying on the ground after I got crushed, and Mitchell Brookins came over to me and asked me if I was OK. I had no idea where I was at. I had my bell rung. I was better a few minutes later.

What made that team special?
We were picked ninth or 10th in the Big Ten. We had a bunch of guys who could play and play together. We all hung out together. We were buddies. When one person went, everybody went. Most of us were just getting our shot, and we were all hungry. It was everybody’s time to shine. Everybody else was scared of Michigan, scared of Iowa and those people. We weren’t scared of them. We believed we were good enough. There was no backing down.

What did you think about the nickname “Bitin’ Illini?”
After we played Michigan State, they called us the “Raiders of the Big Ten.” Michigan State had those great linebackers, Carl Banks and those guys. The receivers were blowing their butts up. We were cutting them and knocking them down and hitting them in the mouth. They were scared.


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