Illini WR Mike Dudek: rare bright spot in lost season

Mike Dudek Catch

Champaign, IL- While your statistics professor might give you a decent argument disputing it, Saturday’s loss to Iowa effectively ended the season for the Fighting Illini. Sitting at 4-5, Tim Beckman’s squad needed to win two games to gain bowl eligibility; the team’s primary goal for the 2014 season.

For three quarters, it looked like the Illini might actually notch number five, but the fourth quickly reminded the 50,373 frozen fans (and the thousands of fraternity and sorority members choosing to watch the game at Joe’s and Red Lion instead) that both wins and bowl games in the Tim Beckman era of Illinois Football are not easy to come by.

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Buckeyes Jermale Hines Gives Ohio St. a Coach on the Field

jermale hines

Chicago may be nicknamed “the windy city,” but there’s another place in Illinois, about three hours south, reknown for powerful wind. (The “Windy City” moniker actually has nothing to do with wind. It actually originated with New York City politicians condescending to Chicago city officials who talked a big game about the 1893 World’s Fair).

Zuppke Field, at University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium, is a place where gale force winds can affect the outcome of a game as much as player performances and coaching decisions. You might recall 2002 Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, when Lions Coach Marty Mohrniweg made the ill-fated, bone-headed decision to give up the ball in overtime, in order to have that infamous wind at his back.

Ohio State senior free safety Jermale Hines noticed. “It was big because the offense is so limited. When facing the wind, they tend not to throw the ball too deep, a lot of short passes and things like that. And with the wind, they tend to try to go deep,” the 6-1, 216 pound DB from Cleveland said.

By Paul M. Banks

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