One hundred years ago this season, coach Bob Zuppke’s (above, second from left) third Illini football team had a hard act to follow. A year before, the UI rolled to a 7-0 record and a mythical national championship. All-Americans Perry Graves, Ralph “Slooey” Chapman and Lennox Armstrong graduated, leaving Illinois with several significant holes in its lineup.
Nebraska’s once-mighty Cornhuskers, now 2-3, are human again... it just took the Illini a little longer to figure it out.
No apologies needed, Illinois outplayed Nebraska. Let’s start there.
This week's edition of the Dick Van Dyke Appliance World WOW Plays of the Game blog comes with a little bonus. First, though, the calm before the dramatics. Here's Illinois touchdown number one...
And number two...
And the closing seconds...
AP Top 25 and Heisman Trophy voter Bob Asmussen is in his 27th year covering college football for The News-Gazette. Here are his thoughts and observations after the second weekend of the season:
Hire him. Right now.
Don’t let Bill Cubit go one more second as interim coach.
Bob Asmussen hands out grades for Illinois following its win against Middle Tennessee:
CHAMPAIGN — Emotion can carry a football team.
By propelling them upward. Or sending them into a downward spiral.
The latter is a scenario Illinois is all too well-versed in.
But not now.
CHAMPAIGN — Bill Cubit wanted more from Malik Turner.
Needed to see more. On the practice field and during games.
Turner’s 50-yard reception on a deep pass from Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt down the middle of the field set up the game-winning 1-yard touchdown reception by Geronimo Allison.
Malik Turner. Geronimo Allison. Wes Lunt. The trio carved their name in Illini lore with clutch performances in the waning seconds. Then Taylor Zalewski booted through the extra point, sending Illini fans home happy. For the first time in a Big Ten opener since 2011.