'83: A season to remember ... UI 33, Iowa 0

 

Catching up with ... Terry Cole


Illinois football wasn’t any good when Terry Cole first reported for duty. By the time he was a senior, however, the defensive lineman was headed to the Rose Bowl. We caught up with the four-year letter winner, now 51 and running his own wholesale supply company in Peoria, to chat up the rout of Iowa and the demise of the Memorial Stadium goal posts.

I didn’t like Iowa. They chop-blocked me and took my knee out when I was a freshman, so they held a special place in my heart. I hated them. That was the Hayden Fry era with the infamous pink locker rooms at Kinnick. They also had those tight ends who stood up, which was stupid. Our defensive line coach, John Teerlinck, didn’t have respect for tight ends. He told us they weren’t tough enough to be linemen and not fast enough to be receivers. He would say, “No defensive lineman of mine will ever be blocked by a tight end, especially one that is standing up.” We were conditioned never to be blocked by a tight end.

We beat them 33-0, but what was significant was they had first and goal late in the game and we really wanted the shutout. Teerlinck said, “If they score, you will run out the south end zone and keep running until the cows come home.” So we didn’t let them score.

Home games that year were crazy, almost like a bowl-game atmosphere. When we came in as freshmen as Mike White’s first recruiting class, Illinois had won like one game in three years. No one had experienced winning. So when the goal posts came down our senior year, that was all new to us, the intensity of the fans. I don’t know if there ever was another time like that. We were proud that what we did had the fans coming back.

Tatelines: Oct. 2, 1983

CHAMPAIGN — As a flourish to the sun-kissed halftime pageantry at colorful Memorial Stadium Saturday, hundreds of balloons were sent dancing from the green Astroturf into the clear blue sky.

For Iowa, the balloon had gone up much earlier.

Striking by air for 24 points in the first 16 minutes, a multi-faceted Fighting Illini squad overran Hayden Fry’s Hawkeyes and coasted to a 33-0 Big Ten triumph.

Reversing the early-game pattern that led to an opening loss to Missouri (which fell to East Carolina 13-6 Saturday) the swarming, improving defense pinned Iowa to the north end zone while Jack Trudeau unleashed three TD passes in the first five possessions.    

It was complete and thorough, undoubtedly leaving the voters in the UPI and AP polls (who put Iowa 3rd and 4th) in total confusion. Chris White added the other 15 points with three placements and four field goals. Chris Sigourney averaged 46.4 on punts, dropping two inside the Iowa 5-yard line, and the veteran defense protected its first shutout since 1978 with a remarkable fourth-quarter stand on the 6-inch line.

THEN WHEN RIOTOUS knuckleheads rushed out to tear down the south goal post — repeating insane acts of Iowans after their triumph over Ohio State — these mature Illini players reached the locker room with their emotions under control.

“We’re gonna practice this week like we lost,” repeated defensive end Mike Johnson time after time. “Let’s get ready for Wisconsin.”

Johnson anticipated coach Mike White’s postgame remarks. White was almost solemn as, surrounded by his athletes, he drove home his points. Michigan State had beaten Notre Dame, then lost to Illinois. Iowa had rocked Ohio State and, as White noted, “We caught them at the right time.” He had brought his players to a fever pitch by labeling it “Payback” for the disputed 14-13 loss at Iowa last year.
Now it should be obvious to those who follow the Big Ten’s psychological cycles that Wisconsin, playing at home after an easy win over Northwestern, will have plenty of emotion saved up for the UI.

“NEXT WEEKEND WILL be a test of our maturity,” said White. “We were unfortunate to get out of there last year (29-28 on a Mike Bass field goal). With seven games to go, we have to take each week as it comes.”

White’s defense-oriented 1983 strategy, criticized at Missouri because it failed, set the stage for Saturday’s rout. Winning the coin flip, he deferred the decision until the second half, allowing Iowa to accept the football and Illinois to defend the south goal. All four games this season have started in that manner.

“I really like to start the game on defense,” said Illini cornerback Mike Heaven, a standout with a fumble recovery and an interception.

“That’s the kinda pressure we like,” said tackle Don Thorp.

Top 20

Illinois finally cracked the list after beating Iowa. Here’s the Top 20 on Oct. 3, 1983:
Rank, Team               Record
1. Nebraska    5-0
2. Texas    3-0
3. Alabama    4-0
4. North Carolina    5-0
5. West Virginia    5-0
6. Ohio State    3-1
7. Auburn    3-1
8. Oklahoma    3-1
9. Florida    4-0-1
10. Arizona    4-0-1
11. Georgia    3-0-1
12. Miami    4-1
13. Southern Methodist    4-0
14. Michigan    3-1
15. Iowa    3-1
16. Maryland    3-1
16. Washington    3-1
18. Arizona State    3-0-1
19. Illinois    3-1
20. Brigham Young    3-1

30 years ago this week ...

— U.S. battleship New Jersey arrives off the coast of Beirut to beef up American presence.

— Sen. Charles Percy joins ranks urging Secretary of Interior James Watt to resign.

— Dow Jones closes at record high of 1,257.52.

— Gov. Jim Thompson vetoes a measure authorizing public financing of gubernatorial campaigns.

—Led by “Cheers,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Hill Street Blues,” NBC dominates the Emmys, taking 33 awards.

Big Ten standings

And we mean 10. No Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland or Rutgers to worry about. Here are the league’s standings after the Oct. 1 games:

              Big Ten    Overall
Illinois    2-0    3-1
Michigan    2-0    3-1
Purdue    1-0-1    1-2-1
Iowa    1-1    3-1
Ohio State    1-1    3-1
Wisconsin    1-1    3-1
Northwestern    1-1    1-3
Michigan State    0-1-1    2-1-1
Indiana    0-2    1-3
Minnesota    0-2    1-3
   

Catching up with ... Terry Cole


Illinois football wasn’t any good when Terry Cole first reported for duty. By the time he was a senior, however, the defensive lineman was headed to the Rose Bowl. We caught up with the four-year letter winner, now 51 and running his own wholesale supply company in Peoria, to chat up the rout of Iowa and the demise of the Memorial Stadium goal posts.

I didn’t like Iowa. They chop-blocked me and took my knee out when I was a freshman, so they held a special place in my heart. I hated them. That was the Hayden Fry era with the infamous pink locker rooms at Kinnick. They also had those tight ends who stood up, which was stupid. Our defensive line coach, John Teerlinck, didn’t have respect for tight ends. He told us they weren’t tough enough to be linemen and not fast enough to be receivers. He would say, “No defensive lineman of mine will ever be blocked by a tight end, especially one that is standing up.” We were conditioned never to be blocked by a tight end.

We beat them 33-0, but what was significant was they had first and goal late in the game and we really wanted the shutout. Teerlinck said, “If they score, you will run out the south end zone and keep running until the cows come home.” So we didn’t let them score.

Home games that year were crazy, almost like a bowl-game atmosphere. When we came in as freshmen as Mike White’s first recruiting class, Illinois had won like one game in three years. No one had experienced winning. So when the goal posts came down our senior year, that was all new to us, the intensity of the fans. I don’t know if there ever was another time like that. We were proud that what we did had the fans coming back.
 

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