The Illinois football team won their second game in a row last Saturday against Nebraska, but it isn’t the quarterback or star athlete who is getting the publicity from the victory.
Up 28-10 entering the second half, Illinois needed to get momentum back their way. Three quick plays and a 4th and 8 scenario popped up for the Orange and Blue at their own 31-yard line. Naturally, the Illinois coaching staff called in the punting unit.
Just moments later, Illinois punter Blake Hayes would take the snap. Noticing all but one of the punt return team retreating to help block for the returner, Hayes takes off and runs for a first down while juking out an invisible man halfway through the run.
This great play by Hayes drew a ton of attention immediately on social media and even landed the talented big-leg Aussie on the Pat McAfee Show.
Good morning beautiful people.. today’s a great day 2 remember that the road 2 your desired destination isn’t going to be a smooth 1. There’s gonna be bumps, & potholes, & unexpected detours..that’s what makes it even sweeter.
— Pat McAFLEET (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 24, 2020
It’s not every day an Illinois player gets on the show, but McAfee, being a former punter himself, watching Hayes dazzle with his feet got the former NFL veteran excited.
McAfee starts the conversation by pointing out Hayes during the Rutgers game. The Illinois punter had a punt where he delayed kicking the ball as his gunners and team ran down the field. McAfee refers to a Tweet that he tweeted out two weeks ago about how Hayes could have run the ball on that play as well. He then asks Hayes if there was a conversation about doing a fake punt after the game.
The conversation continues with breaking down the marvelous fake punt against Nebraska. Hayes gives his commentary on what his thoughts were during the entire play. It really is quite interesting.
Hayes’ legend continues to grow at Illinois. Don’t be surprised if this kid eventually gets picked in the NFL Draft. He is fun to watch and adds a sense of stability to the Illini special teams.