Three takeaways from Smith's press conference

Here are three items Illinois coach Lovie Smith said in his weekly press conference that caught the attention of beat writer SCOTT RICHEY:

Passing game struggles

Smith: 'Definitely another step to take'

Illinois coach Lovie Smith looks forward to Saturday's game at Purdue, discusses his team's offense and how freshman quarterback Cam Thomas has fit in it, breaks down his team's improved run defense and spotlights how the new football performance center coming in 2019 can help the program.

UI athletics sets $300 million fundraising goal

University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said the athletics department has a goal of raising $300 million as a part of the school's overall campaign goal of more than $2 billion.

Whitman announced Monday that the money will go into three different "pillars of excellence": student scholarships, capital projects  and student athlete enhancement.

Oct. 29 Asmussen Top 25

Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen is a voting member of The Associated Press Top 25 panel. Here is this week's ballot:SCHOOL   PREV. 1. Alabama   1
2. Georgia   3
3. Ohio State   5
4. Wisconsin   4
5 Miami   7
6 Penn State   2
7 . Notre Dame   9

No protests during pregame pow-wow near Memorial Stadium

CHAMPAIGN — A band of Sioux Indians, including four "fancy dancers," from North Dakota held a traditional pow-wow Saturday across the street from Memorial Stadium before the University of Illinois homecoming game.

There were no protesters in sight, in contrast to the homecoming parade the night before.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Don Osborn

Happy Birthday to Don Osborn, the current assistant coach to Justin Spring for the Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team. Osborn returned to Illinois in 2015 after 20 years away from the program. He initially joined Yoshi Hayasaka's staff as an assistant in 1985 and continued in that role until 1994 when he succeeded his boss as Illinois' head coach.

Tate: Seeking common ground

Today's mission is a long shot, but one worth tackling.

It's rock-headed, of course, to believe there can be peace between the Hatfields and McCoys, or a single square foot of common ground between D.C. liberals and the Trumpites.

Scott Richey's report card

Player of the game

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr

Not too many individual standpoint performances in this one. But the sophomore linebacker from DeSoto, Texas, did a little bit of everything for the Badgers with eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble.


Illinois: D

Upon Further Review: Wisconsin 24, Illini 10

First impressions

— Rutgers and Minnesota ran all over the Illinois defense the past two weeks. The Golden Gophers managed to pull off the "let's run the same play over and over until they stop it" offense.

Game notes: 'It humbles you a lot'

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois star receiver Mikey Dudek left the game in the first half with an undisclosed injury.

"We'll see exactly where he is," Illinois coach Lovie Smith said.