1. Red Grange Statue
Red Grange is a notable figure in the Fighting Illini’s history: in 1924 in a game against the University of Michigan, he scored six touchdowns in the first twelve minutes and was nicknamed the Galloping Ghost. In 2011, he was voted the Greatest Big Ten Icon by the Big Ten Network and is immortalized in a beautiful bronze statue outside the West side of Memorial Stadium.
2. The Grange Rock
Another tribute to Harold “Red” Grange sits near the northeast end zone in the form of rock from the stone quarry in Indiana was used to create the granite columns in the stadium. Players will often touch the Grange Rock on their way into the stadium.
3. Land of Lincoln Trophy
Northwestern and Illinois play each season for the Land of Lincoln Trophy and have been playing annually since 1927. The intrastate rivalry has blossomed due to the proximity of the two schools, which makes for a great game as many fans will travel to the opposing school for this match up.
4. Tribute to World War 1 Soldiers
There are nearly 200 pillars surrounding Memorial Stadium that are engraved with the names of U of I students who served during World War I. Pay tribute to these fallen heroes by visiting these pillars.
5. Illini Street Fest
Two and a half hours before kick-off, the area between Kirby Avenue and Irwin Drive is reserved for the Illini Street Fest. The Fest is free, open to the public, and offers a variety of entertainment such as live performances by the cheerleaders and marching band, as well as a mini golf course and face painting for the kids. This family-friendly tailgate is enjoyable for all who attend Illini games.
6. Illini Homecoming Game
Every year there is a big parade to celebrate homecoming, which dates back to 1910. It is mostly supported by alumni and maintains a family-friendly atmosphere. Bring your friends because there is a lot to see and do. The band, cheerleaders, and Greek life will all be a part of the parade making it well worth your time.
7. Block I
Block I is the name given to the student section inside Memorial Stadium since 1926. Throughout Illini games, Block I will perform creative card stunts during games. Look to the student section to show off their Illini pride by cheering hard throughout the game for their team.
At every U of I game, you will hear half the stadium shouting “I-L-I” while the other half will shout “I-N-I” in response. Join in this chant to get into the Illini spirit and get the most out of your trip to Urbana-Champaign.
9. Illini Walk
The Illini Walk gives fans a chance to greet their favorite Illinois players as they arrive at Memorial Stadium. Two hours before game time, all of the players and coaches walk from 1st street to the football complex and greet fans along the way. It’s a great thing to do for kids who idolize the Illini players, so make sure to check it out during your visit to Urbana-Champaign.
10. Purdue Cannon
The Purdue Cannon is presented to the winner when Illinois takes on Purdue. The trophy dates back to an incident in 1905 when a group of Purdue students brought the canon to U of I in hopes of firing it off after a victory, only to get it confiscated. After an eleven year hiatus, the rivalry resumed in 1943 and has been an exciting game to watch ever since.