CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Mayor Jerry Schweighart recalls a conversation six months ago with a man who seemed intent on emphasizing his humble beginnings.
"I was talking to a developer, and he said he was so poor when he was a kid, he lived in Holiday Park (a subdivision surrounding Centennial Park in west Champaign)," Schweighart said. "I said, 'Wait a minute, I still live there.'
Iowa 23, Illinois 13
CHAMPAIGN – Morris Virgil did as he''s taught on the first-quarter play, smacking Iowa fullback Aaron Mickens hard near the sideline.
A clean play, one that kept the Hawkeyes from getting a first down. But nobody can teach you how to deal with the aftermath.
CHAMPAIGN – Next time an Illini opponent faces third and long, it''s time to get nervous.
When the chips are down, the Illini slip on a chip. When the going gets tough, the Illini stumble.
CHAMPAIGN – Jon Beutjer finally got to play against his old school. And his former teammates let him know they remembered him.
A transfer from Iowa during the 2001 season, Beutjer went the entire fourth quarter Saturday. In relief of starter Brad Bower, he completed 12 of 25 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once on a pass that went off tailback E.B. Halsey''s hands.
It''s been a running joke for months between two running coaches.
When Kevin Sullivan joined the Illinois women''s cross-country staff last summer, he learned one of his regular assignments would be helping transport team members to their workouts.
Neil Rackers ventured into unfamiliar territory twice last Sunday. Not long after he tied an NFL record with three 50-plus-yard field goals against Seattle, the Arizona Cardinals kicker was brought into the interview room for the first time in his career.
"It was pretty funny, actually," Rackers said. "They asked if I''d ever been in there before, and I told them, ''To stretch.'' It was fun."
Illinois will practice this afternoon, its fifth consecutive day without a day off. The Illini will take Monday off, and it''ll be a well-deserved rest.
"Everybody''s tired," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "This is when it really starts to get hard. You get the bumps and bruises, and you''re ready to play games. Now is when you really have to be mature and push through."
This is a story about pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clauses.
Still reading? Eyes glossed over yet?
CHAMPAIGN – A 14-game Big Ten losing streak. Another sub-50,000 crowd at Memorial Stadium for homecoming. A fan base that is showing its feelings with its wallets.
If the criteria for keeping Ron Turner on the job in 2005 starts with an improved product, he has a case. But if the criteria for keeping Turner on the job in 2005 was a five-win season, it isn''t going to happen.