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Reliving Illinois Football’s Epic 4th Downs



Reliving Illinois Football's Epic 4th Downs
Nov 9, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe (9) makes a sideline catch in front of Michigan State Spartans safety Xavier Henderson (3) during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Reliving Illinois Football’s Epic 4th Downs

I breathe a sigh of relief. Illinois Football opened up their 2023 season in stressful fashion. The Illini trailed 19-7 at one point in the third quarter against the Toledo Rockets. Fans are all too familiar with the school building an incredible amount of buzz only to fall flat. I was fully prepared to see Bret Bielema and his crew fight an uphill battle towards a successful season after a disappointing opener. However, credit goes to the veteran heavy Illini. They showed solid resolve and poise. They had 3 minutes to go in the game to score some points and they delivered with a game winning field goal.

However, the last drive was not without any drama. Fourth down and four yards with 2:16 left.

Casey Washington is a hero

Casey Washington has had the quite the Illini career. He had the game winning touchdown in the 9OT game against Penn State. This was a couple months after he transferred to Wake Forest and decided to come back to Illinois. He then had a rather quiet 2022-2023 season behind Isaiah Williams, Pat Bryant and Brian Hightower. However, Casey Washington saved the day with an incredible catch on 4th and four. Additionally, Luke Altmyer had just as impressive a throw. Altmyer had defensive linemen directly in his face breathing down his throat as he delivered a spot-on ball to Washington. This allowed the Illini to grab a new set of downs, and also allowed them to establish field goal range.

Fourth and Bhebhe?

Everyone wants to forget the Lovie Smith era for the most part. However, this was one of the most insane Illinois Football games ever. The Illini found themselves down 28-3 against Michigan State in East Lansing. They roared back, however also had to put together a game-winning drive. Brandon Peters fought admirably, however found himself on 4th and 16. Peters threw up another absolute dart, much like Altmyer did. Josh Imatorbhebhe made an incredible catch just like Casey Washington did.

This allowed Illinois to continue their drive and clinch their first Bowl game in quite sometime. Without this, I do not even think Illinois would have made a bowl game.  The Casey Washington catch may have saved the Illini Football season. If they had gone on to lose, they would have found themselves in a very difficult scenario with games against Kansas and Penn State following. If Illinois was winless going into Penn State, many fans would have fallen out without a doubt. Casey Washington and Luke Altmyer prevented that.

Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.