Amid all the accolades of Dick Butkus as a defensive player, I would like to mention an instance when he starred offensively. It was 1946 and Illinois was playing UCLA in Champaign. Illinois was moving the ball well but could not score.
Coach Pete Elliot found a solution. When the Illini advanced to the 20-yard line, Elliot put Butkus in as center. Butkus handed to ball back to the quarterback, who handed off to fullback Jim Grabowski. Grabowski followed Butkus for five yards. Illinois repeated that play three times for a touchdown.
Whenever Illinois got close to the end zone, they used that play. Everyone in the stadium knew what was happening. UCLA knew but couldn’t stop the play. My nonagenarian mind does not recall the final score, but Illinois won big. Such was the power of Dick Butkus.
Bill Linneman, Bloomington