Those Were The Days - Wisconsin

Sep 30, 2022

A quick note before we get to Detlef's article. Some have recently found their subscriptions unattached from their usernames. We're working on it. In the meantime, I'm making every article free until we get it fixed. So nobody will need a subscription until it is back up and running.

Here's Detlef with this week's TWTD:

This week Illinois travels to Wisconsin, a sort of homecoming (my first ever U2 reference in these articles!) for former Badgers head coach Bret Bielema. Perhaps he and Barry Alvarez can hug it out at Jordan's Big 10 Pub before the game? I'll be at the Rocky Rococo on Regent Street. I'll be with Mrs. Detlef, loyal Badger. If you see us, stop by and introduce yourself so I can buy you a beer and rant about shotgun formations on third down and one. Today's tale recalls a big win from the Bob Blackman era in Champaign.

November 18, 1972: Year Two of The Bob Blackman Football Program (TBBFP) had been a disaster. Illinois started the season 0-7 before finally winning at Northwestern. Illinois then defeated Indiana to enter the contest at 2-7. Now Illinois hosted Wisconsin in its final home game.

Illinois dominated the contest by a score of 27-7. The determined running of George Uremovich and the fiery defensive work of Mark Petersen and safety Larry Huisinga (Deland-Weldon) paved the way to victory. Uremovich carried the ball 20 times for 97 yards and a touchdown, and continually exhibited second and third efforts to pick up extra yards. Petersen, a sophomore starting at defensive end for the ailing Tab Bennett, led the team with 12 tackles, including seven solo tackles and one tackle for loss.

Huisinga, a senior playing in his last home game, effectively held down Wisconsin's passing game by breaking up five passes. The Illini gained 398 yards to 232 for the Badgers. Mike Wells (Normal Community) enjoyed a solid game at quarterback, hitting 12 of 16 pass attempts for 94 yards. The Illini showed some of the razzle-dazzle on offense that it had used for recent wins. Lonnie Perrin exercised the halfback option pass to Garvin Roberson for 32 yards and punter Jim Rucks (Waukegan) hit Uremovich on a fake punt-screen pass for 25 yards.

Later, Perrin faked a cross-field pass to Uremovich on a kickoff (which worked the prior game against Indiana) and instead turned and pitched to Joe Lewis who scampered 64 yards downfield. Lewis also carried for 21 yards on a specially-installed end around run. Wisconsin was hurt by the loss of Rufus "Roadrunner" Ferguson, the Big Ten's #4 rusher. Ferguson sustained an injury and did not play two weeks ago against Iowa. He did not make the trip to Champaign.

Bob Blackman praised his set of senior athletes who played their final game before hometown fans. "They've got a lot to be proud of--they've played in difficult times and had a lot of problems," Blackman said. "This year they played a lot of strong teams but they always came back in the second half. They've been a great group of guys. I guess I am a lot more sentimental than the players since I'm older, but I think they'll want to look back on their last game at home and remember that they went out well."

Illinois lost at Iowa the next week by a score of 15-14 to close the 1972 season with a 3-8 record, 3-5 in conference play.

Sources: "Grid Home Finale A Success" by Tom Carkeek. Daily Illini: November 21, 1972.


RonSwanson on September 30, 2022 @ 05:50 PM

Check out the yearly schedules and results of the Bob Blackman era. 3 non-conference games v. major conference opponents - often times 2 out of the 3 were ranked plus yearly matchups v. top 5 (or 10 at worst) Ohio St and Michigan. Most teams in the country would have lost a minimum of 4 games with those schedules. Madness.

Efremwinters84 on September 30, 2022 @ 07:02 PM

Blackman, along with several players --- Uremovich, Roberson, Perrin, Mike Wells, Jeff Hollenbach, and a bunch of others --- were the reason I (1) badly wanted to attend the UofI, and (2) first got addicted to Illini football.

I absolutely loved Bob Blackman and his Sunday morning TV show following each game. And how about all of those trick plays he implemented for just a single game. Fun stuff!!!

Norcal Illini on October 2, 2022 @ 10:20 PM

I was there. The fake cross-field pass had the entire stadium faked out after seeing them do it the week before.

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