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View from the Stands: Illinois

What time does the game start?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 08 Illinois at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


The first mistake of the football day, I had it in my head that the game starts at 7:00, wrong! The kickoff is at 6:30. Pay attention dummy. So we are at least 30 minutes late getting started on the trip to Lawrence. Made it through the K10 construction and to the parking lot by 5:00. The parking lot, like last week is filling up well ahead of last season’s rate. I will have to be here bright and early in two weeks if I am going to get one of the better spots. The tailgating scene is getting better, I am interested to see what it will be like prior to the Big XII opener against BYU.

I am not expecting a big crowd at my gathering, but I know some freshmen will come by for some free food, and my wife has several friends from her KU days coming. Friday games are not great for big tailgate parties. We get set up quickly and are ready with Planet Sub (aka Yellow Sub) sandwiches, beverages, and music.

It’s time to fulfill a promise, is there a pregame kid zone? I walk toward the Campanile and the Hill. The KU band is starting to gather as they usually do pregame. What is not so usual is they are having a mini pep rally, speakers included, and parents with signs. I have not seen that before. I am again disappointed in the band. They are again not in band uniforms, just shorts and collared shirts, Why? I am sure they claim heat, but the weather could not be nicer, I guess band uniforms are a conference and bowl game-only requirement. Very disappointing.

From the top of the Hill, you can see the outdoor football practice fields. Yes, MitchLightfootIsTheBestEverAndILoveHim, there is a kid zone with inflatables. I did not go down to it, but they are there. There are also food trucks at the bottom of the Hill. They change each week, but there are food options if you cannot get food before you arrive and you don’t want to get typical stadium food.

I turn back to my tailgate. Time for food and drink. The band pep rally is starting to break up. They are now in instrument-based pods. I end up right next to the trombones as their leader is pysching them up for the game.

Back at the tailgate things are subdued, but free food attracts college freshmen, and as expected several have come to eat. College friends of my wife are arriving. A small but fun group of past and present students have gathered.

By 5:55 most tailgate parties are breaking up so people can head to the game. We don’t plan to head down until closer to kickoff, and one couple coming to our party is late due to traffic issues getting to Lawrence. We decide to wait for them to arrive and maybe extend our gathering. We have not seen them in a while and want to catch up some and feed them before heading down.

This decision will make us late for kickoff. Our friends arrive at about 6:15. We eat and drink a little more and catch up with our friends. You don’t need to be at the game to know game time is approaching. The parking lot has emptied of people and noise is building up in the stadium. After quickly catching up and having food and drinks with our friends, we break down our setup. As we do, several big roars are heard from the stadium. Sounds like good things are happening early. Time to head down to the stadium. The scoreboard shows KU up, 7-0. Yes!

1st Quarter

  • I missed this touchdown
  • And this is the play I see the end of as I emerge from the tunnel. It was like Jalen was running up to me to welcome me in.
  • 5:06 left in the first quarter, it is 7:00, just when I had planned to arrive earlier in the day. Well done.
  • It takes no time to see how much better KU looks with Jalon at quarterback, wow.
  • The offensive line at times takes huge splits. Between the center and left guard there must be over a six-foot gap. I am talking huge.
  • Despite the natural gap created by the huge splits the line is taking, we run outside, hmm.
  • Hishaw is in a lot and running well.
  • Big 3rd down and 2 from Illinois 5.
  • Touchdown, Casey.
  • Crowd rockin. The student section looks good in black waving the wheat

2nd Quarter

  • Who is in the tent to start the quarter? It didn’t last long and I missed who was in the tent.
  • Nice stop Cobee.
  • The defense is not fooled, nice play. Some Chiefs inspired trickery from Bret Bielema.
  • Was that Kenny Logan back for a punt? Oh, no it was Wilson. The black uniforms make 1 and 7 look very similar.
  • Beautiful night at the Booth
  • Not a good drive. Sack.
  • Skinner can’t hold it.
  • A punt! First time for the Aussie.
  • Not great, but he hung it high and there was no chance for a return.
  • Smile Cam is back. Three kids get it, everyone else just waving.
  • Come on D, Illinois at KU 46.
  • Sack! Jereme Robinson.
  • Good series for the defense.
  • Illinois punt caught on the fly by Illinois defender and downed at the 6.
  • Marvin Grant in the tent.
  • The offense is stalling out a bit.
  • Was that Patrick Mahomes? Double checking, nope Jalon Daniels.
  • Really good option play. Jalon keeps and fools the defender badly.
  • Jalon is looking very tired at the moment.
  • Fairchild with a catch and a 1st down at 27.
  • Woof! Wilson with a great one-handed catch and takes a hard hit.
  • Okay, the offense is not stalling out.
  • Devin to the 5.
  • Touchdown Devin. 21-0!
  • Will we be ranked this week if we keep this up? Knock on non-existent wood.
  • 3:12 to go in the quarter.
  • Unlike last week, the crowd is still really engaged.
  • My top three items for the stadium renovation: better seats, functioning wifi, and a bigger, fully functioning scoreboard. Once again the current scoreboard has big sections working only occasionally.
  • Freshman Logan Brantley is in on kickoff coverage. He is really bang and jawing with several Illinois players.
  • The crowd is loud again.
  • KU timeout to break Illinois rhythm, defense is reeling a bit.
  • Can we hold them to a field goal?
  • Nope, Touchdown. That was fast. 21-7
  • Patrick who?
  • Luke Grimm!!!! Jalon’s pass goes 50 yards in the air, from 30 to 20.
  • PI in the endzone. Very good.
  • Following the run, Lance is in the end zone calling a timeout.
  • Wow. Way to get TD back!!! That was even faster
  • Hishaw touchdown 28-7.
  • Illinois cries mercy for the first half and kneels down.


  • Kid Cheerleader Night.

[Insert picture]

  • More Taylor Swift from the band this week.
  • Wait, these are the same songs as last week.
  • They are just facing the students this time.
  • Not enough time for the band to practice a new routine this week?
  • Kind of disappointing. Never heard of a band doing the same routine two weeks in a row.
  • Outscored and out stat’ed them. 0 penalties. Nice.
  • Jalon’s crew is back this week. They are getting a better show this week.
  • Hype video to end the halftime program. It is good. I think it had this version of the 80s classic In the Air Tonight playing underneath the video.

3rd Quarter

  • Time to bury them. Let’s put the game away early.
  • Devin!! Waited for the hole, but looked tired quickly.
  • Didn’t exactly bury them with that field goal, but better than nothing. 31-7
  • I should note, that the field goal was from 41 yards out. Last season we probably miss it or don’t even try to kick it.
  • Tabor, you have one job buddy. Good job.
  • Kenny? We are killing them how did you get a personal foul?
  • Another sack. D-line showing well tonight.
  • 4th and 4 Illinois is going for it. But a timeout first.
  • During time someone in the student section launches a paper plane that makes it to 41 on the opposite end of the field. Big cheer for that.
  • The crowd is loud for a 31-7 lead.
  • KU holds.
  • Am I at Arrowhead? What was that formation?
  • It works, Devin goes for 24 yards.
  • Damn. Fumble. Who was that? Come on guys hold on to the ball! I am looking at your Arnold.
  • And we get it back. Interception/fumble, can’t tell, for Dotson, Way to get it back.
  • Good run. Nice pass down to 15.
  • Fairchild with a killer penalty. Just needed a first down and we would have had it without that push (?) in the back.
  • And for some reason we didn’t really try to get first, just a give-up run to the short side of the field.
  • Jalon lets an f-bomb fly when he gets back to the bench.
  • The field goal is good. 34-7.
  • Devin getting stretched out
  • 3:46 left in the quarter.
  • Devin is in the tent but it is only a quick visit.
  • Another sack, this time by Austin Booker.
  • Crowd is loud. 3 & 18 for Illinois.
  • What happened? TD Illinois.
  • Dude ran right past me, and I think I was closer than the nearest defender.
  • 2 points no good 34-13.
  • QB is down hard. Booker nailed him. Big “oohhh” from the crowd.
  • I guess he paid for the TD.
  • Targeting?!?! What? He hit him in the ribs with his shoulder.
  • No way did he got kicked!!! Just awful and he misses the first half next week. Weak sauce.
  • 2 points good. 34-15
  • Now being reviewed. He was down.
  • Clearly short, but what does the ref say? Extra point is good. No way.
  • These refs suck.
  • Are they Big Ten refs?
  • Bad series for the refs.
  • Hishaw sucking up yards.

4th Quarter

  • Targeting on Illinois. Really? What is going on? Not even close.
  • Skinner first down.
  • 21 for Illinois is “hurt”. He makes the tackle pops up, looks at the sidelines, and takes a knee. This feels fake. Feels like Illinois is trying to slow down KU’s offense without using timeouts or their defense.
  • INT in the endzone. Jalon got greedy. Didn’t need to make that throw. Wilson really was not open.
  • Get it!!!! Oh, Cobee(?) just misses an interception.
  • Another sack for the defense. Jereme Robinson.
  • The corner went in with one receiver, and the safety could not get to the second receiver in time. First down Illinois.
  • Defense, what is going on? Illinois driving.
  • Could have been an interception instead it goes for 21 yards.
  • The ball went right through the linebacker’s arms.
  • That is not targeting!!!!!!
  • Okay, maybe it was, but I think he led with his shoulder
  • It is hard to trust these refs at the moment.
  • Cobee is going to get tossed. These refs are so bad. Did Bielema slip them cash?
  • Touchdown Illinois and a 2-point conversion. 34-23.
  • Come on offense.
  • Nice start. Devin big run. 16 yards.
  • Grind out a TD, please.
  • Nice bounce outside by Hishaw.
  • Argh sack.
  • Need a big play
  • Devin Neal!!!!
  • What are looking at? That is a first down!!!!
  • Should be a first down, but will they give it to us? I doubt it. Man, these refs are bad!!!
  • Jalon trips, argh.
  • Going for it
  • Not even close. That should have been the 3rd downplay.
  • 3:33 to go
  • Sack!!! JB Brown.
  • 2 plays from win.
  • 1 play away.
  • Crowd is loud
  • Damn. First down
  • Interception!!
  • Lassiter two weeks in a row.
  • Win!!!! Despite refs.
  • Oh, and now a moment I wish I had not seen Dad on jumbo has KU shaved into chest hair. Yikes.
  • Last timeout for Illinois, the game is over except for the kneeling.


Listening to the postgame show on the radio on the way home the most interesting tidbit the host drops is the idea of KU appealing the targeting calls to the conference office. He indicates this can be done and the first-half suspensions could be void. I feel like it is a long shot and maybe not worth the effort. I think we can survive the one-half without Bryant and Booker against Nevada, but if you can get them reinstated, more power to us.

KU is off to a 2-0 start with an excellent shot to be 3-0 next week. Man, it is nice to be able to look forward to KU football games and not just hope you can win, but really believe you can win. Rock Chalk!

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