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Uniform roundup: Illinois going gray, Eastern Washington breaks out stars and stripes

You may assume the gray uniforms Illinois will wear Oct. 25 against Minnesota are a shameless plug to get Nike some free publicity and give the Illini another excuse to push some merchandise. And you are undoubtedly right. But there is another reason beyond branding and capitalism.

Back on Oct. 18, 1924, future College Football Hall of Famer Red Grange dump-trucked Michigan to the tune of six touchdowns and 262 yards of total offense in the first 12 minutes of the game, leading Illinois to a 39-14 win and handing the Wolverines their first loss in two years.

Following the game, the immortal sportswriter Grantland Rice penned this prose to describe the performance.

A streak of fire, a breath of flame
Eluding all who reach and clutch;
A gray ghost thrown into the game
That rival hands may never touch;
A rubber bounding, blasting soul
Whose destination is the goal.
Red Grange of Illinois!

-- Grantland Rice, 1924

And now Illinois will honor that performance with "Gray Ghost" uniforms.

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Illinois gray
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Elsewhere, Eastern Washington will honor go patriotic for Military Appreciation Day on Saturday.

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That's a good looking stars-and-stripes uniform. It it feels familiar, that's because Northern Illinois wore the exact same thing last year.

Adidas sure does love its templates.