Your First and Most Recent Illini Game

#1      
As I was looking back at my abysmal record of not seeing one single win at Memorial Stadium ... I thought it would be fun to hear some of our more seasoned Illini fans' fun memories of their first Illini football and basketball games, as well as the most recent game they attended! If you grew up going to games at a young age, maybe just say the first one you remember.

FOOTBALL
First:
1999 - Illinois 40, Iowa 24 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. We had just moved to Iowa City from Peoria, and my parents dressed my sister and me (8 and 5, lol...) up in our Illini gear and took us into enemy territory! Thankfully, there was a good chunk of Illini fans there that day, and we whooped 'em.

Most Recent: 2016 - Iowa 28, Illinois 0 in Champaign ... ick. Horrible weather, horrible attendance, horrible game. However, we - as always - had a damn fun time going out in Champaign before and after! My one friend may or may not have gotten VERY politely escorted out of Brothers for taking a small hop off the balcony, lol, so we're a bit sad that one closed down. (Seriously, the bouncer was so cool and let him finish his beer. :ROFLMAO:)

BASKETBALL
First:
2003 - Iowa 68, #8 Illinois 61 in Iowa City ... yeah, this was rough. We were 12-1 (2-0) and riding high, and we came out looking like trash. Fortunately, I would go the next two years (2004 and 2005) and watch the Illini beat the Hawkeyes both times in front of a TON of Illini fans plus the Orange Krush. In 2005, it's estimated that we brought between 4k and 6k fans. :oops:

My first game in Champaign would come in 2007, when we lost to #3 Wisconsin 71-64. The Hall was ROCKIN' that day (loudest crowd I've ever heard), and McBride hit a late three to put us up that almost brought the house down. Unfortunately, we folded down the stretch. However, I got back to Champaign later that year to watch us beat Northwestern at home in what turned out to be the Chief's second to last dance. :cry:

Most Recent: 2022 - #24 Illinois 59, Northwestern 56. This game was too close for comfort, but MAN was it awesome when Williams hit us with that putback dunk to take the lead and the sea of Illini fans (easily over half the arena) went nuts!

Being born in 1991, 2000-2001 was really the first Illini sport season I have any meaningful memory of, so I always love hearing older stories!
 
#2      
First football game I remember- Whatever year it was that the refs screwed us against scUM by blowing the calls on multiple fumbles. 2000?

Most recent- W vs Iowa this year!

first basketball game I remember- not sure of the exact year bc I was pretty young. Guessing it was 1996. I remember Kiwane Garris, Matt Heldman, and Kevin Turner beating Iowa.

most recent- last years Braggin Rights
 
#3      
First football: 1986 versus Northwestern. I was 9. It was cold. We lost in the final game of one of Mike White's more disappointing seasons.

Last football: 2012 at Arizona State. It was a bday present to myself and the first and only game my now wife has seen. I was an ASU grad student at the time and thought it was cool to be seeing my team right there in Tempe. Yeah...it didn't go well...

Basketball first: 2004 versus Wake Forest. Uh...'nuff said. Best sporting experience of my life by far.

Basketball last: 2019 at Grand Canyon University. Kofi's first season. Great atmosphere in a smaller but very loud venue. Was living in Phoenix at the time so awesome to see my team play locally. We won but it was a hard fought game. Seeing Kofi and Ayo live was awe inspiring. The way they played I knew we were going to be good the next couple years.
 
#4      

RedRocksIllini

Morrison, CO
First football: 1978 slugfest vs. Northwestern.

Last football: 2010 win vs. Indiana (how has 12 years gone by that fast??)

First basketball: some game in the 1979-1980 season which we either won or lost.

Last basketball: 2018 vs. Nebraska. Great game from Leron Black in an otherwise mostly lost season. The real bright spot was this was Brad's first season.
 
#5      

Ransom Stoddard

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Bloomington, IL
Football -My first game was a win over Syracuse in 1981. I won season tickets in the Shoe off a radio station in C-U, and the Illini won EVERY home game that season. Eason slung the ball all over the place that year.

Most recent - 10/15/2022, where we made Minnesota our plaything. The place was rocking and it reminded me somewhat of the fuzzy years of the mid-80s with fraternity block.

Basketball - I honestly can't remember the first OR last at AH/SFC. TBH I haven't been to that many games, and I don't think I went to any as an undergrad. I've got tickets for a half-dozen games this year though, so time for some new memories.
 
#6      
I don't remember my first football game very well, unfortunately. It must have been circa 2003. I remember the Chief and I remember walking through the tailgate lots as a young teen/preteen thinking that college looks awesome.

My most recent football game was the Minnesota game. We know how that went 😎

I remember my first basketball game vividly. Second round of the ncaa tournament against ND at the RCA Dome in Indy in 2003. I went to the open practice the day before and Dee Brown signed my hat. The game didn't go as hoped. I remember the next game in the session was Dwayne Wade's Marquette vs Missouri. I was too upset to even really be interested in it.

My most recent game was last year's conference title clincher over Iowa. That one is unforgettable for different reasons. My buddy and I decided to just stay in our seats and watch from above rather than storm the court. It was like an orange and blue confetti filled fever dream. The craziest part is that driving to the game, no one thought we would be playing for a championship. Then Nebraska beat Wisconsin and this palpable electricity swept through Champaign. Ready to experience that again this year.
 
#7      

MTMinded

Fatigued
First football game - 1990 versus Colorado. It was a fairly good game.

Last game - 2021 versus Nebraska.

Lots of losses in between.

Basketball - the first one I cannot remember. Went to lots in the early 90's. The last one was last December against Rutgers.

I'm on a roll w attending victories. I think I went over a decade without seeing a win live.
 
#8      
Not sure about my first games. My daughter is now 12 and I can tell you her first game was when she was 11 months old. She came with me, stroller, diaper bag, bottles and all, to the Illinois Northwestern game in 2011 where AJ Jenkins had 268 receiving yards. She and I will be there tomorrow as well. Life's priorities have changed over the years as she and her sister have gotten older, but through it all we try to make it over for a couple games a year.

I-L-L-
 
#9      
Football: first = Nov 83 vs. NW; last = 2022 Minn, next = MSU
BBall: first = Nov 84 vs. Chicago St (had to look that up) but game 2 was a few days later vs. Top 10 Oklahoma and Wayman Tisdale
last = 2022 BTN Tourny Indiana, next = EIU
In town for the sports weekend - saw W Volleyball last night; will see W BBall tonight
 
#10      
Ha, great thread.

First game: 6th grade, must've been 1975, my buddy's older brother was a student at UI. I went with his parents to the game. I forget the opponent but remember it was a really nice October day, and the stadium was empty. We sat ~10 rows up on the ~20 yard line with no one around us. We may have left early. I also remember visiting my buddy's brother at his dorm room at PAR (he and his roommate didn't bother going to the game).

Most recent: 2007 Rose Bowl! Tailgated with old college friends before the game on a typically great SoCal day. I remember the moments leading up the kickoff were absolutely electric, the stadium was buzzing. The game not so much for us, though we had a few nice moments with some Rashard runs. Hoping for a revenge game with USC this January, which I would for sure attend!
 
#11      

MustangWally

Mayfield
First game: September 20, 1969 vs. Washington State. My freshman year. Remember it well. Didn't know anybody yet, so I went by myself. Sat in the east upper deck. The Illini blocked a WSU field goal as the clock wound down to seemingly save the game. However, a penalty on the Illini gave WSU a second chance to win the game. Final score: WSU 19 ILL 18. Illini would go winless that year. I went to every game.


Most recent game: October 19, 2019 homecoming vs Wisconsin. 50 years later. Again comes down to a last second field goal after a late interception. James McCourt hits from 39 yards and the Illini pull the huge upset. Beautiful day in Champaign. Sat in the east main stand with a group of Wisconsin fans. It was sweet.


 
#12      
As I was looking back at my abysmal record of not seeing one single win at Memorial Stadium ... I thought it would be fun to hear some of our more seasoned Illini fans' fun memories of their first Illini football and basketball games, as well as the most recent game they attended! If you grew up going to games at a young age, maybe just say the first one you remember.

FOOTBALL
First:
1999 - Illinois 40, Iowa 24 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. We had just moved to Iowa City from Peoria, and my parents dressed my sister and me (8 and 5, lol...) up in our Illini gear and took us into enemy territory! Thankfully, there was a good chunk of Illini fans there that day, and we whooped 'em.

Most Recent: 2016 - Iowa 28, Illinois 0 in Champaign ... ick. Horrible weather, horrible attendance, horrible game. However, we - as always - had a damn fun time going out in Champaign before and after! My one friend may or may not have gotten VERY politely escorted out of Brothers for taking a small hop off the balcony, lol, so we're a bit sad that one closed down. (Seriously, the bouncer was so cool and let him finish his beer. :ROFLMAO:)

BASKETBALL
First:
2003 - Iowa 68, #8 Illinois 61 in Iowa City ... yeah, this was rough. We were 12-1 (2-0) and riding high, and we came out looking like trash. Fortunately, I would go the next two years (2004 and 2005) and watch the Illini beat the Hawkeyes both times in front of a TON of Illini fans plus the Orange Krush. In 2005, it's estimated that we brought between 4k and 6k fans. :oops:

My first game in Champaign would come in 2007, when we lost to #3 Wisconsin 71-64. The Hall was ROCKIN' that day (loudest crowd I've ever heard), and McBride hit a late three to put us up that almost brought the house down. Unfortunately, we folded down the stretch. However, I got back to Champaign later that year to watch us beat Northwestern at home in what turned out to be the Chief's second to last dance. :cry:

Most Recent: 2022 - #24 Illinois 59, Northwestern 56. This game was too close for comfort, but MAN was it awesome when Williams hit us with that putback dunk to take the lead and the sea of Illini fans (easily over half the arena) went nuts!

Being born in 1991, 2000-2001 was really the first Illini sport season I have any meaningful memory of, so I always love hearing older stories!
First football game, September 6 1980 vs Northwestern. Was really excited to see Mike White come in because he had a great turnaround at Cal. Big time Coach. About the game, if I recall correctly the first play from the Illini was a deep pass which drew a standing ovation from the awful Moeller days of Power I Michigan football without the Michigan players. Think we beat them 35-10 which was a great first game.

Last football game vs Minnesota this year.

First basketball game Nov 24, 1978, loved that team, Perry Range, Mark Smith, Eddie Johnson, James Griffin, Judson, Neil B, Derek Holcomb. I remember the support of the backboard was tied with cable to the ceiling in those days and I think it was Holcomb dunked a two hander so hard I thought he was going to bring it down.
 
#13      

MustangWally

Mayfield
First game: September 20, 1969 vs. Washington State. My freshman year. Remember it well. Didn't know anybody yet, so I went by myself. Sat in the east upper deck. The Illini blocked a WSU field goal as the clock wound down to seemingly save the game. However, a penalty on the Illini gave WSU a second chance to win the game. Final score: WSU 19 ILL 18. Illini would go winless that year. I went to every game.


Most recent game: October 19, 2019 homecoming vs Wisconsin. 50 years later. Again comes down to a last second field goal after a late interception. James McCourt hits from 39 yards and the Illini pull the huge upset. Beautiful day in Champaign. Sat in the east main stand with a group of Wisconsin fans. It was sweet.


Basketball:

First game: I have no memory of my first basketball game, but it would have been a 83-67 win over Butler, since that was the first game of the season on December 2, 1969. I know I went to every game that season.

Most recent: March 8, 2020 vs Iowa with my daughter. Kofi blocks a last second shot attempt by Luke Garza and the Illini win 78-76. Great game. Last one before the pandemic.
 
#14      
Football -
First game: 2007 vs PSU. Rejus returns a punt for a TD and the D holds on for the win.
Last game: 2022 vs Minny. Soon to be vs MSU

Basketball -
First game: 2000(?) vs UIC at the Allstate Arena. We smoked them. Was a Christmas gift for my dad but really I just wanted to go.
Last game: 2021 vs UTRGV.

Love this topic!
 
#16      
First football game: Sept 28 1974 vs. Washington State. Illini 21/WSU 19. Field trip when I was in HS. Decided that day that I was going to UI for college.
Last football game: Sept 3 2016 vs. Murray State. Family brought me as part of my recovery from chemo. Watched the Illini demolish the Racers 52 - 3.

First Basketball game: Dec 8 1976 vs. San Jose State. Freshman year, first game at the Assembly Hall. Illini win 84-70
Last basketball game: Dec 15 2018 vs ETSU. Illini win 77 - 53. Trent goes for 25. Last game with my wife before she passed away.

Moved to Minnesota in 2020 and the trip to CU is a little long nowdays.

Basketball actually started on the radio in 1971. Nick Weatherspoon was a sophomore forward, big Greg Jackson was a senior, and Nick Connor had the most awesome sideburns ever.
 
#17      
In 1956, at age 9, I was able to be one of around 75,000 packing Memorial Stadium to see one of the greatest Illini victories ever. Duffy Daugherty brought his #1 ranked Michigan State Spartans to Champaign. They left with their first loss of the season. Chief Illiniwek inspired the team and the crowd to uproarious heights as the Illini won their second and final victory of the season in a huge upset. Later that season, #3 ranked Sparty also lost to Minny 14-13.

My final game to witness the Illini football team live came in 1962 in the opening game against Cal and their soph. sensation QB Craig Morton. Morton bounced passes off open receivers chests, hands, and face guards all day with his laser passes and the Illini ecked out a 10-0 victory. The Illini went on to win the B1G title and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

My memories of attending games in those days was the Block "I", Chief Illiniwek emerging from the center of the band as the crowd erupted in a frenzy, and a packed memorial stadium going crazy with every Illini first down and score. Those were the days. Will Illini fans ever get to see them again?
 
#18      

MoCoMdIllini

Montgomery County, Maryland
First game 7 October 1989: a big win over Ohio State. I got a friend's ticket who couldn't make it and got to be part of Block I.

Last game: 22 November 2003. I brought my girlfriend down to Champaign for the Northwestern game. We lost 38 - 21. Oh well: at least she was happy. We went to Kam's and then Papa Del's after the game.
 
#19      
My first definite game was 1984 @ Northwestern. We won and secured our Peach Bowl berth. My family then drove to Greektown, nearly got into a crash on LSD, and had dinner at the Parthenon before heading back to my aunt’s in Oak Park.

I may have been at a game on campus earlier than that, but if so, I don’t remember the particulars.

My most recent, Minnesota three weeks ago. Until tomorrow afternoon.
 
#20      

Mr. Tibbs

southeast DuPage
first game: Frosh year, 1979 , Dads day we lost to Navy 13-12 ugh

last game 2018 we beat Minnesota in November .
I swear to God, Tanner Morgan was QB . maybe im wrong.
Kinda like how a "Crispin" was on PSU basketball team for like 10 years in a row
 
#21      
First football - 0-0 NW vs. Illl - I hate Gary Moeller.
Last football - 13-9 loss Illinois at Purdue - Peters overthrows everybody - right in my face in the north end zone at Ross Ade.
Special mention - Sugar Bowl 2002 - row three in the end zone. I really hate LSU fans.
Next football - 11/12/22 for the B1G West.

First Basketball - 1978 UT Arlington vs. Illinois - We rolled, I remember thinking James Griffin would "own the Big Ten" before he was done.
Last Basketball - 1/21/20 Illinois at Purdue - Kofi eats Trevion Williams for lunch.
Special Mention - 4/4/05 Illinois vs., well you know. National Championship game with my son.. Special.
 
#23      

aiwpfan

Springfield, Il
First game: 1961, Washington. I was in Second Grade. Illinois lost, the first loss in an 0-9 season.
Last, I'm not sure. I've blotted a lot of recent games out. One that stands out was the LaTech game in 2012 that Illinois lost 52-24. LaTech just passed all over poor Terry Hawthorne the whole game. There may have been a couple games since, but right off the top I don't remember.
 
#25      
First football game I remember- Whatever year it was that the refs screwed us against scUM by blowing the calls on multiple fumbles. 2000?

Most recent- W vs Iowa this year!

first basketball game I remember- not sure of the exact year bc I was pretty young. Guessing it was 1996. I remember Kiwane Garris, Matt Heldman, and Kevin Turner beating Iowa.

most recent- last years Braggin Rights
I was their! Saw it with my now wife, Dad, and Grandpa. Grandpa died unexpectedly a couple months later. It a shame there was no replay because we would have won!