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Illinois Homecoming

In its 100-year history, Homecoming at the University of Illinois has held many special moments – such as the four touchdowns within 12 minutes made by Red Grange during the 1924 game.

Illinois Homecoming

In its 100-year history, Homecoming at the University of Illinois has held many special moments – such as the four touchdowns within 12 minutes made by Red Grange during the 1924 game.

By John Franch

There would never be another Homecoming game like it. On the 80-degree afternoon of Oct. 18, 1924, some 67,000 raucous fans, jammed into a newly dedicated Memorial Stadium, waited in suspense for the start of the contest against a powerhouse Michigan team. A whistle sounded, a cheer arose, and the Michigan captain kicked the football. It was a low kick, and the ball, spiraling northward through the sun-washed sky, plopped into the outstretched arms of Harold “Red” Grange ’26, who stood on the five-yard line of the emerald-green field. “Cautiously, almost shyly,” the bare-legged Grange embarked upon the famous 95-yard run that would win him sports immortality. Starting on his left, he quickly dodged to the right to avoid a tackler and then again swerved left. He had outflanked his befuddled Michigan opponents, extricating himself from “seemingly hopeless tangles of tacklers,” and an open field lay ahead. Grange sprinted into the end zone, and the bleachers “went crazy,” the fans standing up and trying to “split their throats cheering.” He wasn’t done that day – far from it. Grange scored three more times that quarter – four touchdowns in 12 minutes – and the Illini would go on to crush Michigan 39-14.

Like the fabled runs of Red Grange on that distant autumn afternoon, Homecoming at the University of Illinois has enjoyed many memorable twists and turns in the course of its 100-year history.

Read more: http://www.uiaa.org/illinois/news/blog/index.asp?id=164

 

 

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