Masar earns league honor

PARK RIDGE – Illinois soccer junior forward and former Urbana star Ella Masar was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Masar scored two goals, including the game winner, in the Illini's 3-2 victory against No. 9 Penn State on Sunday. It was Masar's first two-goal game of her college career and third career game-winning tally.

Second-half rally sends record

CHAMPAIGN – For much of the first half, the loudest thing about the largest home crowd in Illinois women's soccer history was its apparel.

A sea of mostly orange-clad fans – 2,667, to be exact – flocked to Illinois Soccer Stadium on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon ready, willing and eager to cheer on their Orange and Blue.

Alaeze ends UI career

CHAMPAIGN – Highly touted defensive end Melvin Alaeze, ranked the No. 4 prep prospect in 2005, has left the Illinois football program and the school.

"Melvin, because of personal reasons, has withdrawn from the university," Illinois coach Ron Zook said Sunday night.

Zook cautions overconfidence

CHAMPAIGN – Ron Zook's phone was buzzing Sunday and his e-mail was full. A win Saturday against Michigan State didn't buy the Illinois coach any extra free time to call or write back.

"I have not had an opportunity to return them," Zook said. "Our guys are getting the same things. They have to understand that everybody is telling you how good things are now. We're only 60 minutes away from being right back the other way."

The day after

A review and preview of UI football:

Ex-Illini Ram claims doubles title

TULSA, Okla. – Former Illinois tennis player Rajeev Ram joined with Bobby Reynolds to win the doubles title at the USTA Challenger of Oklahoma on Sunday.

Former Illini in the NFL

How ex-Illini players fared in Sunday's NFL games:

Illini follow game plan — and Thomas carries load

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Pierre Thomas' magic number Saturday was 20. That's the number of touches offensive coordinator Mike Locksley sought for the running back.

Eighteen will do.

Rossow: Upon further review

– It's OK to admit you're an Illinois football fan again.

– Juice Williams put up some wonderful numbers, throwing another long touchdown pass and rushing for 103 yards. But what we'll remember about his first win as a college quarterback was the way he handled himself on the game-winning drive. Clutch. Cool. Commanding. All the things you want your quarterback to be.

Catching up with ...

Each Sunday, staff writer Jeff Mezydlo will offer five questions to a current NFL player or coach with Illinois ties. This week: New Orleans Saints punter Steve Weatherford.