Happy 29th, Dee Brown! (w/video)

 

ILLINI LEGENDS, LISTS & LORE:  Seasons Ending in “3”

 

The University of Illinois’ 2013 football season is less than three weeks away and, if historical trends mean anything, a decent season could be in the offing for the Orange and Blue. Good things—mostly—have happened to the Fighting Illini gridders in seasons ending in the number three.

1893:  Coach E.K. Hall’s squad went 3-2-3, outscoring its opponents by a margin of 156-106

1903: College Football Hall of Fame coach George Woodruff first and only Illini squad won its first eight games. The bad news was that it lost its last six games in a row.

1913: Bob Zupple’s first Illini team wasn’t great, but did post a respectable 4-2-1 record, winning its first four games of the year.

1923: With sophomore running back Red Grange in Zuppke’s backfield, the Illini posted a perfect 8-0-0 record, claiming the Big Ten title and mythical national championship.

1933: Quarterbacked by honorable mention All-American Jack Beynon, Illinois was two games above .500 at 5-3-0.

1943: Coach Ray Eliot’s second team, depleted of its talent by World War II, finished 3-7-0.

1953:  The Illini claimed the Big Ten championship, finishing 7-1-1, but Michigan State was picked by conference athletic directors to represent the league in the Rose Bowl.

1963:  Led by Dick Butkus, Jim Grabowski and company, Illinois once again won the Big Ten title and went on to defeat Washington in the ’64 Rose Bowl.

1973: Coach Bob Blackman’s third Illini squad finished one game under .500 (5-6-0).

1983: Big Ten champs for the 12th time in its history, Illinois remains as the only conference team in history to post a perfect 9-0 mark in league play.

1993: Coach Lou Tepper’s second team beat 13th-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor, but finished 5-6-0 overall.

2003: OK, not every team that played in a season ending in “3” had something to brag about. Coach Ron Turner’s seventh Illini squad was 1-11 overall, 0-8 in the Big Ten.

 

Illini Birthdays

Sunday: Dave Walters, cross country/track & field (58)

Monday: Tom Shelton, baseball (23)

Tuesday:  Steve Bernstein, football coach (69)

Wednesday: Don Klusendorf, basketball (51)

Thursday: Jon Beutjer, football (33)

Friday: Neil Rackers, football (37)

Saturday: Dee Brown, basketball (29)

 

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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