Coach Ron Zook and the Fighting Illini will take their show on the road April 11.
March 31, 2009
University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook's Fighting Illini football team will hold its 2009 Chicago Spring Game at Oak Park River Forest High School at 1 p.m. Sat., April 11. Admission is free of charge.
"The last two years, the trips to Chicago have been a big highlight during our spring season," Zook said. "Our fans in the Chicago area have been great to us and it has proven to be beneficial in recruiting and for our alums."
Holding the event at Oak Park River Forest serves as a tip of the cap to Illinois coaching legend Robert Zuppke. Zuppke claimed two national championships at the high school before taking the reins at Illinois in 1913. He is credited with inventing the screen pass and the "flea flicker" at OPRF before bringing those plays with him to Illinois.
Zuppke claimed national championships at Illinois in 1914, 1919, 1923, and 1927 as well as seven Big Ten titles. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Oak Park River Forest, like Illinois, sports the school colors of orange and blue and the OPRF fight song is an adaptation of "Illinois Loyalty."
The Fighting Illini head to Chicago for the third consecutive season under Zook. This trip follows Chicago spring events at St. Rita of Cascia High School in 2007 and Lemont High School in 2008.
The annual Orange and Blue Spring Game is scheduled for April 25 in Champaign at Memorial Stadium, set for 1 p.m.