Photo of the Week, 83: Swiped Bell Returned to Redbird Roost, September 20, 1967
Back in the 1960s when Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University still played each other in football, pranks were common among the more mischievous members of the respective student bodies. For instance, several days before the September 23, 1967 game, IWU boosters "boosted" the Illinois State Victory Bell from its locked garage on the Normal campus. It was then clandestinely moved to the Wesleyan campus and chained to the old science building.
Seen here are ISU students Janie Adamson (left), Pat McInnis, and Dave Raymond celebrating the safe return of the bell to Normal. The Redbirds went on to trounce the Titans three days later by a score of 27-7. The storied Twin Cities rivalry came to an end after the 1969 season due to the increasing disparity in player size, strength, and athleticism. From 1946 onward, Illinois State went 20-3-1, winning 15 of the last 17 in the series and outscoring the overmatched Titans 88-13 in the final three contests.
The Illinois State Victory Bell still leads the football team onto the field before each home game, and is rung after each touchdown and victory. The Redbirds are at home this Saturday against the Panthers of Eastern Illinois University. This is the 103rd meeting of the storied rivalry now known as the Mid-America Classic. Kickoff is at noon.