Daily Archives: December 30, 2010

Oskee-Wow-Wow, Illinois!

The American flag was in the shape of Texas.

Yesterday I enjoyed the best football game I’ve ever watched in person—my alma mater, the University of Illinois, defeated Baylor University in the Texas Bowl 38-14! It was an incredible game at Houston’s Reliant Stadium . . . for Fighting Illini fans.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase hands off to Jason Ford.

The Mister and I were fortunate that we watched the game from our company’s regular Houston Texans’ seats, which are 14 rows from the field on the 35-yard line. We had a great view of all the action, plus (bonus!) we were on the Illinois side, which meant we were pretty much surrounded by the Illini faithful.

Illinois has very strong cheerleaders!

Still, Baylor’s green and gold blanketed the stadium. There are a ton of proud Baylor alums in the Houston area, which is fairly close to Waco. Probably 90 percent of the crowd were fervent Bears supporters, and they were vocal . . . for awhile.

Illinois’ Block I flag moves along the sidelines after an Illini touchdown.

Fortunately, we had a spirited cheerleading corps to unite the Illini fans, as well as each other in the stands. Of course, it helped that we had a lot of great plays to cheer about! Illinois definitely brought its “A” game to the Texas Bowl, while turnover-prone Baylor had trouble getting its running game on track.

Part of the Marching Illini forms one of the “L’s” in the ILLINI formation.

My favorite part of the Texas Bowl—besides the final score, of course—was watching the Marching Illini at halftime. When they were in the stands, the band not only kept our spirits high with great songs, but they also led our trademark “I-L-L . . . I-N-I” cheer. On the field, they filled Reliant with rousing music that threatened to blow open the roof!

When the band formed the letters I L L I N I and played “Hail to the Orange,” I got goosebumps as I proudly sang along with my small orange-clad “family.” Yes, it was a great day to be a Fighting Illini alum in Houston! Oskee-wow-wow!