O'Toole, Thomas highlight award recipients

CHAMPAIGN — With three games left in the season, Reilly O’Toole was a backup quarterback playing out his senior year.

Now, he is Illinois’ Outstanding Offensive Player.

O’Toole and the rest of the Illini were honored at their annual team banquet Sunday afternoon at the I Hotel.

All-Area Boys' Soccer COY: Blue Ridge's Marty Price

Why he’s Coach of the Year: Price guided the Knights to a berth in a Class 1A super-sectional, where they lost 1-0 to the state’s eventual third-place team. The sectional crown was the first in school history, and the 20-win season was the third in the past five years, leaving Price one win from 150 career victories.

Asmussen: How Bob voted for Heisman

Staff writer Bob Asmussen is a longtime Heisman Trophy voter and the Illinois state rep for the award. Here is how he voted this year:

Tate: Complete play not seen in recent losses

CHICAGO — These weren’t the Oregon Ducks who lost to Michigan, VCU and Ole Miss. These were the Oregon Ducks who, in the words of coach Dana Altman and the Illini’s John Groce, played their best game of the young season Saturday.

Sunday Conversation: Cam Pepper

His two favorite college football teams are playing in bowl games. In Dallas. Former offensive lineman Cam Pepper, a standout for John Mackovic’s Illini in 1989-90, will see his alma mater play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. And he will be in the Texas city to watch his son Taybor, Michigan State’s long snapper, in the Cotton Bowl.

Too soon to be worried, says former player

CHICAGO — There’s been some worry among Illini fans lately about the team’s shooting struggles, namely those of transfer guards Aaron Cosby and Ahmad Starks. Former Illini Stephen Bardo, though, isn’t in the camp that’s panicking.

Saturday's prep highlights: VG/H boys top century mark

In boys’ basketball
Watseka Holiday Tournament
■ Hoopeston Area 71, Tri-Point 66. Trey Layden hit four three-pointers and scored 22 points to lead Hoopeston Area. Bryce Leigh finished with 15 points. Logan Walder and Nathan Michael added 12 points apiece.

Illini come up lame down stretch

CHICAGO — Following losses at Miami and to Villanova at Madison Square Garden, panic reigned among Illinois fans and those who follow the program closely. Losing on the road to a Top 15 team and at a neutral site to a Top 10 team aren’t reasons to freak out.

But if you want to panic right now, after Illinois’ 77-70 loss to Oregon at the United Center, by all means do so.

MBB grades: C- against Oregon

Player of the Game: Duck Dillon Brooks

The freshman from Canada shot well from the field and the line. He chipped in five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Dana Altman has found himself a star for the next four seasons. The Pac-12 is in for a treat.

Backcourt: Oregon C, Illinois B-

Illini legends, lists and lore: Big Ten football MVPs

Sixty-eight years ago today, the University of Illinois’ Alex Agase was named winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Award as the Big Ten Conference’s Most Valuable Player. He was the first lineman to be so honored since Minnesota’s Clarence “Biggie” Munn in 1931.