First and foremost, thank you Bill and Chip for the tickets.
I can't believe how easily we got in and out. Arrived about 4:45 p.m., found one of the last parking spots in the Brown Lot, had a leisurely tailgate dinner, saw my buddy Andrew and his impressive road crew from Chicago/Michigan, soaked it all in.
Strolled across the street into the stadium and saw two drunk fans get into it right off the bat. "That's how fights start," Chris Durst said. Morons.
Massive renovations to Memorial Stadium. Congrats to Illinois for getting it right. The north end zone is now enclosed and the brick grandstand looks like it's been there all along. They put the students in the north seats and boy, were they LOUD.
Fantastic seats, west side, lower level, 10-yard line about 30 rows up. Memorial Stadium is a grand place, despite the dust.
Two fighter jets roared over the stadium just before kickoff and shook the place to the chore. The students were chanting "USA! USA!" Chris says, "This beats pro football, that's for sure."
Illinois started strong and eventually simply shot itself in the foot. The crowd moaned about all the penalties, but when you drag a guy down by his face mask, whack him out of bounds, run him over without turning around while playing pass defense ... and when you drop punts and can't throw a pass down the middle with the game on the line .... well.
Michigan helped too. Ryan Mallett fumbled once and tossed a goal line interception too. No Mike Hart, either. I think Jake Long (77) is as big as Marblehead, no secret Michigan runs left, left and left.
The flea flicker touchdown pass unfolded right in front of us and was a great call. Much-maligned coach Lloyd Carr deserves some credit.
Again, one or two idiots in the crowd by us, but I enjoyed the good natured bantering with the guys behind us and it was all good.
Left with 2 minutes to play, and took only about half an hour to get out of town. The traffic on Kirby moved well, and we were northbound on Prospect but stopped dead in traffic when Chris suggested we cut west through the neighborhood. It probably saved us 15 to 20 minutes.
Got home at 2 a.m., stayed awake in part with a phone conversation from Tookie at 1 a.m. He's happy about Elephant Ears.
Thanks for the garage signs, Christy!
Sleep is waaaaayyyyyy overrated .....