The Illinois Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers matchup with one another on Saturday afternoon. However, before the two Big Ten teams marry up on the gridiron, the Fighting Illini presented a sincere gesture to their opponent before the game.
A few members of the Illinois team met up with players from the opposite side with a custom Fighting Illini jersey dedicated to the late Sam Foltz, a former Nebraska punter who was killed in a car crash this summer, with signatures from the club.
Foltz and former Michigan State kicker Mike Sadler both found their lives cut short when their vehicle slid and struck a tree. The bond obviously doesn’t just stop at the kicker fraternity. Foltz’s death has impacted the entire college football nation.
Nebraska honored Foltz in their Week 1 season-opener versus Fresno State when the team took a five-yard penalty upon taking the field with 10 players. Fresno State ultimately declined the penalty.
Aside from the team gesture, Illinois punter Ryan Frain is also taking matters into his own hands on Saturday. He is taking the field with a pair of cleats that have Foltz’s initials on them.
“I remember telling [Foltz] that Nebraska was my favorite place to play at because it’s huge and the stadium is always packed,” Frain told Champaign’s The News-Gazette. “It’s just a fun environment to play in, but I’m going to be thinking of Sam when I’m there. It’s one of those things where everybody who knows him is going to think about him for a while.”