Even though the Illini lost 34-24 to #19 Washington at Soldier Field this past Saturday, the game can still be considered a success in some regards. Sure, the match-up at the home of the Chicago Bears was about 15,000 tickets from a sell -out but it was the busiest sports weekend Chicagoland has seen in ages.
On Saturday, the Illini were competing for sports fan interest against the White Sox, NASCAR Nationwide, Northwestern, a Fire match and the BMW Classic. And they still drew 47,312 fans to the lakefront in Chicago.
And the game was extra special to Illini Wide Receivers Coach Mike Bellamy- a former Bears player, native of the SouthSide (prepped at Kenwood Academy) and Illini wideout who played with Jeff George in Champaign.
Bellamy was a second round draft choice by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990 and played at Soldier Field, against the Bears during his NFL career. He also spent time on the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Radiers and Chicago Bears rosters.
“Playing for your hometo...