Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 10/01/2011 - 18:14
CHAMPAIGN _ Here’s a sentence you’ve never read: Illinois needs to win just one of its final seven games in order to become bowl-eligible.
The Illini continued its finest start since 1951 with a 38-35 comeback victory over Northwestern on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Illinois completed its five-game homestand with a perfect record and won its second Big Ten opener in the last 17 years.
Here’s another sentence you’ve never read: Illinois has won each of its last three games by 3 points. The Illini hadn’t won three straight by 3 or fewer points since taking up football in 1890.
“We didn’t do a lot of things like we have,” said Illinois coach Ron Zook. “But we did the things we had to do to win the game and that’s the thing that they believed in.”
Posted by Lindsey on Tue, 09/27/2011 - 16:29
With Northwestern and Illinois renewing unpleasantries on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, I thought this serves as the perfect time to relive the dominant theme from last year's game: Mikel Leshoure's greatness and Northwestern's non-excellent defensive effort.
Without further ado, here's the blog in its entirely. I posted it at 3:37 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2010:
I must be nuts because I couldn't think of anything better to do at 2 a.m. Sunday than to review the tape and figure out how Mikel Leshoure piled up his 330 rushing yards in Illinois' 48-27 win over Northwestern at Wrigley Field.
Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 21:56
If you paid any attention to Illinois’ 23-20 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday, then you heard that Ron Zook’s Illini are off to the school’s first 4-0 start since 1951.
When it's been such a long time, writers are contractually required to mention who was president...and who was No. 1 on the Billboard charts...and how many pennies it took to buy a gallon of gas. But I digress. There are relevant ways to put Illinois’ start into perspective, too.
--The Illini have swept their regular-season non-conference games just four times since Dick Butkus was graduated after the 1964 season: In 1999, 2000, 2001 and this year.
Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 09/23/2011 - 00:31
As you might imagine, Northwestern doesn’t conduct the same style of practices during a bye week as it does when a Saturday kickoff stares the Wildcats in the face.
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, NU’s regulars stepped aside while the “junior varsity” --- the freshmen and the lightly used veterans --- received the coaches’ time and attention.
The varsity took part in its first practice Thursday morning. The first two-thirds of the session was dedicated to the veterans and saw senior quarterback Dan Persa take the majority of the snaps. But with about 30 minutes left Thursday, the veterans went over to the other field and stretched while the younger Wildcats broke into small groups for what Pat Fitzgerald dubbed “County Fair.”
Posted by Lindsey on Tue, 09/20/2011 - 12:58
The American Football Coaches Association released its 2011 Good Works team today. It's an exclusive group (only 11 players) that rewards off-field do-goodism as much as on-field excellence.
As someone who has enjoyed many conversations with Northwestern senior left tackle Al Netter over the years, I'm happy to report he made the cut. I don't know Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist, but he must be cut from the same cloth if he made this squad, too.
If you want to know just one reason why Netter earned this honor, check out this story: http://nusports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/042110aad.html
Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 09/17/2011 - 23:55
How big was Illinois’ win over No. 22 Arizona State on Saturday night? Let’s try to find ways to measure it.
THE AD MEASURING STICK
After the Illini’s season-opening win over Arkansas State, new athletic director Mike Thomas and seventh-year head coach Ron Zook celebrated by sharing a warm handshake.
After Saturday night’s 17-14 win before 50,669 fans, Thomas and Zook enjoyed a warm hug and Thomas followed up with an enthusiastic pat on Zook’s rump. Then offensive coordinator Paul Petrino stopped hugging his children long enough to embrace Thomas as well.
THE PLAYER MEASURING STICK
Posted by Lindsey on Tue, 09/13/2011 - 17:07
When incoming freshman Shane Larkin decided to leave DePaul and return to Florida in early August, the Blue Demons needed a point guard to back up sophomore Brandon Young.
With virtually everyone who’s anyone already pledged to a college, DePaul went all the way to Alabama to find its guy at Lawson State Community College. Five-foot-10 Worrel Clahar enrolled last week and will have two years of eligibility.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native averaged 12.2 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals last season for the Cougars. Clahar paced Lawson State to the Alabama Community College Conference title (25-6 overall, 13-1 in league play). He led the league in assists and finished second in steals.
Posted by Lindsey on Mon, 09/12/2011 - 23:06
When Michael Orris and his Illinois Old School Elite squad hit the AAU trail in July, Illinois’ coaching staff followed him every step of the way.
That’s just one reason Orris, who lived in Palatine from kindergarten through 10th grade, committed to the Illini immediately upon receiving a scholarship offer Sunday morning during an hour-long meeting in Bruce Weber’s office.
Old School’s first game during the month-long recruiting showcase tipped off in the morning on July 6 in Indianapolis. “Within the first couple of minutes, in walked Bruce Weber and Jerrance Howard,” said Bill Orris, Michael’s father.
Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 09/10/2011 - 21:23
Northwestern rushed for 320 yards in Saturday’s 42-21 win over Eastern Illinois, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats won’t have running-game issues when they travel to Army on Saturday.
For starters, who’s going to be available to play. Quarterback Dan Persa (Achilles’ tendon) and running back Mike Trumpy (concussion) weren’t cleared by doctors to play against EIU. Then sophomore Adonis Smith’s afternoon came to an abrupt finish early in the fourth quarter when he got tackled low.
Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 09/10/2011 - 02:27
I've been scouring YouTube tonight for 9/11 videos. Reliving the moments and the scenes in Manhattan. Gracious, that second plane hit the tower at top speed.
I forgot about all of the people who visited the WTC site with "MISSING" signs, hoping in vain someone could provide happy news on a person they loved.
I forgot about all of the workers who didn't give a flip for their health --- sometimes not bothering to keep the surgeon's mask over their mouth --- as they helped to clear contaminated debris from the area. Maybe Congress can watch some of that footage and approve health benefits for those workers...but I digress.