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1981 Illinois Fighting Illini football
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
1981 record7–4 (6–3 Big Ten)
Head coachMike White (2nd season)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
Seasons
← 1980
1982 →
1981 Big Ten football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#15/12 Ohio State § 6 2 0     9 3 0
#18/15 Iowa § 6 2 0     8 4 0
#12/10 Michigan 6 3 0     9 3 0
Illinois 6 3 0     7 4 0
Wisconsin 6 3 0     7 5 0
Minnesota 4 5 0     6 5 0
Michigan State 4 5 0     5 6 0
Purdue 3 6 0     5 6 0
Indiana 3 6 0     3 8 0
Northwestern 0 9 0     0 11 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll

The 1981 Illinois Fighting Illini football team was an American football team that represented the University of Illinois during the 1981 Big Ten Conference football season. In their second year under head coach Mike White, the Illini compiled a 7–4 record and finished in three-way tie for third place in the Big Ten Conference.[1]

The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Tony Eason with 3,360 passing yards, running back Calvin Thomas with 390 rushing yards, and wide receiver Oliver Williams with 760 receiving yards.[2] Several Illinois players ranked among the Big Ten leaders, including the following:

  • Tony Eason led the conference with 248 pass completions, a 61.1 pass completion percentage, 3,360 passing yards, a 140.0 passing efficiency rating, 20 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 3,331 total yards.[3]
  • Oliver Williams ranked third in the conference with six receiving touchdowns and 20.0 yards per reception and ranked fifth in the conference with 760 receiving yards.[3]
  • Kirby Wilson ranked second in the conference with 546 kickoff return yards.[3]
  • Mike Bass ranked third in the conference with 33 extra points made, fifth with 10 field goals and a 58.8% field goal percentage, and sixth with 63 points scored.[3]

ScheduleEdit

DateOpponentSiteResult
September 5at No. 8 Pittsburgh*L 6–26
September 12at Michigan StateW 27–17
September 19Syracuse*W 17–14
October 3Minnesota
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 38–29
October 10at PurdueL 20–44
October 17at Ohio StateL 27–34
October 24Wisconsin
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 23–21
October 31No. 16 Iowa
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 24–7
November 7at No. 12 MichiganL 21–70
November 14Indiana
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 35–14
November 21at NorthwesternW 49–12
  • *Non-conference game
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game


RosterEdit

1981 Illinois Fighting Illini football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
QB 3 Eason, TonyTony Eason Jr
C 55 Lingner, AdamAdam Lingner Jr
FB 42 Thomas, CalvinCalvin Thomas Sr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
LB 34 Squirek, JackJack Squirek Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured
  • Redshirt.svg Redshirt

Season summaryEdit

NorthwesternEdit

Tony Eason threw three touchdown passes to set the Big Ten single season record. The two teams overall combined to throw 109 passes, breaking the conference mark set earlier in the year by Minnesota and Ohio State. [4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "1981 Illinois Fighting Illini Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/illinois/1981-schedule.html. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  2. "1981 Illinois Fighting Illini Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/illinois/1981.html. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "1981 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/conferences/big-ten/1981.html. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  4. Eugene Register-Guard. 1981 Nov 22. Retrieved 2018-Dec-12.


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