Football

Football

Rossow: Upon further review

– There were too many incompletions, fumbles and interceptions. But what he lacked in efficiency, Juice Williams more than made up in potential. Ron Zook didn't name his starting quarterback after Saturday's game, but the question didn't really need to be asked. The freshman got better by the quarter, looking like he belonged in the Big Ten by 2 p.m. or so. By the time Indiana comes to town for homecoming, he'll be comfortable enough to make the alumni happy (for a change).

Unlike others, Willis hangs on

CHAMPAIGN – Sure, he had a touchdown, the first of his Illinois career. But what Jacob Willis was talking about most after Saturday's game against Iowa was dropped passes.

"The catch is what everybody, of course, will look at," Willis said. "I think I still have some things I can do better."

Tate: Future is now for Illini at quarterback

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois received two visits from Lady Luck when the score was 0-0 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

First, Juice Williams fumbled on the second Illini play, and Iowa's Adam Shada appeared to fall on it. But when the pile was uncovered, Illini Pierre Thomas had muscled in for an equal share, and "joint possession" favors the offense. Nor did a requested video review overturn it.

Asmussen: The price is right for Iowans

No way to know the number for sure. At least 4,000. Maybe 7,000. Or 10,000. Or more. Not Kinnick Stadium East, but moving in that direction.

The folks in Iowa like their football. And they don't mind driving a couple hundred miles to prove it.

A weekly chat with Bob Asmussen

This week's guest: wide receiver DaJuan Warren.

Catching up with ... Johnny Johnson

Few quarterbacks in Illinois history have been as good as Johnny Johnson was his junior season. The school's No. 5 career passer, Johnson hit 59 percent of his passes for 2,495 yards and 19 touchdowns. The best part: He threw just six interceptions. And he helped his team to a 7-5 season that could have been so much better.

Hawkeyes all business during short stadium stopover

CHAMPAIGN – The trip didn't last long. Eight minutes to be exact. But after a brief visit to Memorial Stadium on Friday, the Iowa football team plans to return for this morning's game.

Coach Kirk Ferentz also promised the Hawkeyes won't look ahead to next week's game against top-ranked Ohio State. Iowa hasn't won a Big Ten opener since 2002, and Ferentz wants to change that.

Freshman Williams expected to make starting debut

CHAMPAIGN – Youth gets served. Beginning today.

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams will make his first college start against Iowa, a source close to the program told The News-Gazette. At about 11 this morning, the freshman from Chicago Vocational lines up against the nation's 14th-ranked team.

Tate: Illini defense not as bad as advertised

CHAMPAIGN – It's dangerous to expound the virtues of a traditionally shaky Illini defense when two of the nation's top half-dozen quarterbacks are just around the corner.

Drew Tate, who'll spearhead Iowa's huge fan invasion here Saturday, fired 20 TD passes for a 10-2 Hawkeye team in 2004, launched another 22 scores last season while upping his career passing total to 5,669 yards and returned from injury Saturday to fire three TD passes in a comeback 27-17 defeat of Iowa State.

Ten questions for ... Gary Barta

Gary Barta, a former quarterback at Divsion II power North Dakota State, now is quarterbacking one of the Big Ten's finest athletic departments. Bob Bowlsby's replacement as athletic director, the 43-year-old has plenty to brag about in football alone: a renovated Kinnick Stadium, a Top 15 program and a soughst-after coach. Always a sports nut — he dabbled in sportscasting before beginning a 19-year run in college administration — Barta will be among thousands of Hawkeyes fans at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Before he left, Barta chatted with sports editor Jim Rossow: