September 2000

September 2000

Catching cousins thrive

CHAMPAIGN  Sometimes, two are better than one.

After Illinois lost top returning receiver Brandon Lloyd for the season with a broken leg, junior quarterback Kurt Kittner had to find another big-play target.

Coach: Morton ''a quarterback''

   CHAMPAIGN  Ron Turner is not one to hide his feelings easily. So it wasn''t a challenge to decipher the Illini football coach''s desire to quash the Christian Morton question.

   Off the field and after Saturday''s Illini 35-6 rout of Middle Tennessee, Turner insisted the flashy freshman out of Missouri''s Riverview Gardens High is nothing more and nothing less than a quarterback.

Rossow: Kruger''s road show underway

Two things Lon Kruger misses most about Illinois: Memorial Stadium on a fall Saturday and Kirby Avenue on a Monday morning. Or Tuesday or Wednesday or ....

"The traffic here, if you catch it at the wrong time of the day, is awful," Kruger said from his downtown Atlanta office, where he's preparing for his first season as coach of the Atlanta Hawks. "It can take me up to 45 minutes to from my house to work.

Illini, fans feel the heat

   CHAMPAIGN  Jameel Cook is from humidity-ridden Miami. But even Saturday''s weather got to him.

   "Guys are always picking on me, saying, ''''Meel, you should be used to this,'' " the Illinois fullback said after Saturday''s 35-6 victory against Middle Tennessee. "But no one can be used to this heat."

Defense stretched to limit

   CHAMPAIGN  Spread to all corners of the field by a wily adversary, Tim Kish''s Illini defense was dented for 469 yards and 26 first downs at Memorial Stadium Saturday.

Game 1 Statistics

Statistics for Game 1: Illinois vs. Middle Tenessee

Injury ends career day for Harris

   CHAMPAIGN  A segment of the postgame discussion Saturday centered on Illinois running back Antoineo Harris'' condition, and whether the emerging sophomore will be available this week.

   Late in Saturday''s victory against Middle Tennessee, Harris separated his left shoulder. The medical staff popped it back into place. Sounds serious, and it was serious enough that Harris was headed for X-rays after the game.

Dietz: Opponent: These Illini are better

Middle Tennessee coach Andy McCollum thinks Ron Turner has the blueprint for turning around a struggling college football program. If Turner's the architect, McCollum wants a copy of his plans. Or at least some rough schematics.

McCollum's program is making the tough switch to Division I-A football, and he can use tips from someone who went from 0-11 to a record-setting bowl performance in three years.

Illini learn from past mistakes

CHAMPAIGN – Check if this sounds familiar:

– The school is coming off a blowout bowl victory, fueling fan talk of a Big Ten title.

– The school is loaded with award candidates. The Heisman Trophy, Butkus and Lombardi are all a possibility.

Illini looking for bad flicks

CHAMPAIGN – Last year's winning season guarantees one thing for the Illinois football team: no change in its pregame plans.

Illinois coach Ron Turner likes routine so much that it borders on superstitious.