Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring out the best in sports. The continued tributes to Sam Foltz, the Nebraska punter killed in a July car accident along with former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler, are restoring some faith in college football after a rough offseason.
Two weeks after Oregon honored Foltz by placing a green-and-yellow wreath at the 27-yard line (Foltz wore No. 27 for the Huskers) at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, Illinois made its own gracious gesture before Saturday’s game in Lincoln.
Illinois long snapper Michael Martin presented Nebraska’s specialists with an Illinois jersey emblazoned with “Foltz” on the back and signed by Illini players and coaches.
Appreciate this @IlliniFootball.
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) October 1, 2016
Martin, standing alongside Illinois’ specialists, can be heard telling the Huskers players, “Big Ten specialists got to stick together. When Mike and Sam died, it hit hard. We didn’t know him, but we know what you’re going through. This is a token of how we feel. Sam, he wasn’t an Illini, but we love him anyway.”
Nebraska kicker Spencer Lindsay later placed the Illinois Foltz jersey alongside the one Nebraska has on its bench for each game.
This is compassion. This is sportsmanship. This is unity. This is the best of college football. Bravo, Illinois.