Dean lean and mean

CHAMPAIGN – Look at the Illinois statistics, and you'll notice a nice game by receiver Michael Dean.

Give The News-Gazette a bit of the credit.

An article about Michigan State's Gari Scott and Plaxico Burress in Wednesday's paper served as inspiration for the Illini senior. He pinned it up in his locker so he wouldn't forget.

Dietz: Machado trying to fit in with Jet set

J.P. Machado knows a little something about losing streaks. He went through an 18-game skid as a standout lineman with Illinois.

So the New York Jets rookie has not panicked yet. As a backup offensive lineman, he's getting little credit or blame for the Jets' 0-2 start.

Tate: Illini offense can't climb Spartan wall

If you don't fully understand what happened at Memorial Stadium, Saturday's result in Louisville will help.

An Oklahoma quarterback named Josh Heupel threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns as the Sooners scalded the Cardinals 42-21.

D''Alessio: Robisch on bully pulpit

Say what you want about the guy, but Jerry Krause knows a good bargain when he sees one.

And for two years at the league minimum, Chicago's Miser of the Midway believes former Illini Brett Robisch is a regular blue light special.

Turner watches for certain look

CHAMPAIGN – In his third season, Ron Turner can tell what to expect from seeing his players on Friday night. Usually.

"Sometimes I'm wrong," Turner said. "I've had feelings where I've said, 'Oh God, we're going to have a rough one.' Then I've had feelings where I thought we were ready to play, and you go out and we're not."

Illini try to hang with the best

CHAMPAIGN – Thanks to an undefeated nonconference season and alphabetizing, the Illinois football team sits near the top of the Big Ten standings.

Starting today, it needs more than the letter I to stay put. If it wants to be in the same neighborhood as Penn State, Michigan and Purdue, Illinois has to post some league wins.

Michigan needs OT to edge UI

Sophomore Emily Brown scored a first-half goal for Illinois, but Michigan answered with a second-half goal and won the game 2-1 in overtime in a battle of ranked soccer teams Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The 15th-ranked Illini (7-2, 2-1 Big Ten Conference) were outshot 23-13 by the 22nd-ranked Wolverines (5-2-1, 2-0-1), who received goals from Kacy Beitel and Abby Crumpton.

Big moment still ahead for Illinois

Steve Schnur knew Northwestern was legitimate when the voice of college football showed up in the TV booth, his sidekick showed up on the field, fans showed up in the stadium wearing purple and a legend showed up in the visitor's coach's office.

All on one magical Saturday in November 1995.

Q & A with TB Steve Havard

For three years, Steve Havard played second fiddle to Robert Holcombe. Even with Holcombe gone, Havard has to battle a batch of youngsters for playing time.

Surprises don't end with Illini

Illinois legend Lou Henson called the other day and wanted to talk some football. His two favorite schools are a combined 6-0. Nobody expected either to be undefeated.

Of course, Henson still roots for Illinois, where he worked for 21 years. And he's a big fan of his current employer: New Mexico State. Under third-year coach Tony Samuels, the Aggies are 3-0, including a shocking 35-7 win at Arizona State.

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