In 1995, the Northwestern Wildcats took the college football world by storm, their unexpected rise made them more than a sports story. NU became a pop culture story. After reaching their first Rose Bowl in close to 50 years, and having their first winning season in multiple decades, that team was like the NBC sitcom Friends; a mid ’90s feel-good tale.
They centered around a tailback named Darnell Autry, who finished in the top five of Heisman Trophy voting.
Big Ten Network’s new series, Forever B1G, debuts 6:30 PM CDT Friday. The eight-episode series is basically a “where are they now,” and it features 16 former Big Ten stars, including Michigan quarterback Drew Henson, Michigan State’s Maurice Ager, Northwestern’s Darnell Autry, Indiana’s A.J. Guyton, Minnesota’s Willie Burton, former Penn State running back D.J. Dozier and more.
I actually caught up to Darnell Autry in November of 2010 at the Randy Walker Terrace of Ryan Field. I began my exclusive by joking that this team was bigger than Hootie and the Blowfish back in1995.
He laughed and responded: “I would love to think we were as big as Hootie and the Blowfish, but nah; we had a great time with it we really had a lot of fun and it was great to share with the alumni, and the current students and the faculty. It was really a shared experience.”
You could say he’s the most famous Wildcat football player in a generation, and after Otto Graham, arguably the most well-known in the program’s history. Well, maybe tied with Pat Fitzgerald for second most visible after Graham.
Read the entire Darnell Autry interview here. New episodes of Forever B1G will air every Friday at 6:30 PM CDT on BTN.
Catch me every Friday at 7:30 AM CDT talking Chicago Bears on WAOR 95.7 The Fan, Michiana's home for Bears football
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