Bob Asmussen

Bob Asmussen

Illini Report Card vs. Western Illinois: C

N-G football beat writer Bob Asmussen hands out his grades after Illinois' 34-14 victory over Western Illinois on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium 

Player of the game

Illinois quarterback M.J. Rivers

Game Day Q&A with quarterback AJ Bush Jr.: 'Everything started clicking'

He piled up 329 yards throwing and running in the Illinois opener. Not bad for a guy making his first FBS start. AJ Bush Jr.'s long road ultimately led him to Illinois, where he is the 2018 starter. Based on his debut against Kent State, he will keep the job. Football beat writer Bob Asmussen sat down with Bush this week:

Weisse's 'reunion weekend' coincides with Hansen's record game

Every year without fail, former Illinois football teammates Jeff Weisse, Eric Guenther, Kirk Johnson and Chip Nicastro get together at least once.

"It's our reunion weekend," Weisse said. "This was our 17th year."

They picked the right time and place in 2018.

Final word: Illinois 'really getting started'

CHAMPAIGN — The opener didn’t go quite the way Lovie Smith expected. But the bottom line, the Illinois coach said, was his team picked up a win against Kent State.

Top of the Morning, Sept. 7, 2018

TERRI LIPSCOMB is keeping an eye on the weather forecast. But she has a plan if the expected rains come to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday night.

Lipscomb organized the first "Endless Summer," a benefit for Merci's Refuge, a women's residential home. Lipscomb, chief development officer for the organization, started planning in April.

Asmussen | Are you ready? B.J. Luke sure is

Don't bother calling B.J. Luke on Sunday afternoon. The former Danville High School football coach has important plans.

In front of the TV. With a room full of friends.

Luke will be flipping between a pair of NFL openers: Washington at Arizona and Dallas at Carolina.

Why does he care? Two of Luke's stars with the Vikings will be in the games.

Asmussen's Top 25 ballot: Sept. 4, 2018

Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen is a voting member of The AP Top 25 panel. Here is this week's ballot:

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Asmussen | Losing Dudek a punch in the gut

The moment Lovie Smith said the words "Mike Dudek" during Monday's press conference, you knew what was coming next would be bad news.

And it was. The Illinois receiver, who missed the 2015 and '16 seasons with torn ACLs, is going to miss the rest of '18, too.

Punch ... in ... the ... gut.

Asmussen | Once again, Lovie places faith in freshmen

Lovie Smith says it over and over and over again: If you are good enough to play at Illinois, you will get on the field. Regardless of age.

The third-year coach proved it again Saturday, sending 10 first-year players out against Kent State. Only one of the 10, offensive lineman Kendrick Green, had redshirted.

Bob Asmussen's Big Ten Power Poll: Sept. 3, 2018

On Mondays throughout the season, our 30-year college football writer weighs in on his favorite conference:

1. Wisconsin    

As long as the Badgers remain at the top of my AP ballot, they will also lead this equally important ranking. Dominant in the opener against Western Kentucky, but not mean about it.