Carroll's career back on an upward swing

URBANA – Maggie Carroll is back, better than ever.

Running her first race for Illinois since February, the sophomore responded with the fastest 5-kilometer time of her cross-country career Saturday to win the Pack-It-Up Illini Challenge at the UI Arboretum.

Rossow: Upon further review

Sports editor Jim Rossow's take on Saturday's contest:

After break, Illini miss their better half

BERKELEY, Calif. – Xavier Fulton hasn't seen the agenda for Monday's practice. But the Illinois defensive end has an idea of what'll take place.

"That's easy: tackling drills," he said. "I expect a couple."

Dawson: Self still making himself at home in Illinois – to Illini fans' chagrin

It isn't easy to stump Dave Telep. When it comes to basketball recruiting, the analyst knows his stuff.

So when you ask a question he can't answer, you've found something.

Brasic feeling the pain

BERKELEY, Calif. – There was a bandage covering the "three or four" stitches on his chin. There was a bag of ice on his right hand, which got stepped on. Another bag was on his left arm.

Just another typical day for first-year Illinois quarterback Tim Brasic.

McPhearson happy to be back on field

BERKELEY, Calif. – It wasn't Brandon Lloyd-like in terms of impact. But it's a start.

And that's all Derrick Mc-Phearson wanted. The Illinois freshman receiver, expected to have the same type of first-year impact as former star Lloyd, got his first play with 8:03 left in the second quarter.

Who's that Illini?

I twice led the volleyball team in kills (1999, 2000) and digs ('00, '01), showing my abilities as an all-around player. I led in solo blocks three times. I finished my career seventh on the career kills list, right behind my teammate, Betsy Spicer.

UI's start is a cause for hope

BERKELEY, Calif. – The signs in the tunnel are supposed to serve as a reminder: "It's a 60-minute game. It's a 100-yard field." On Saturday, the message didn't take.

If it had been a 30-minute game, Illinois would have pulled the shocker of the weekend. Ron Zook's team led California 17-7 at halftime and appeared on the way to a breakthrough victory.

Tate: Bears too much for overmatched Illini

BERKELEY, Calif. – Add California to the Kansas States, the Louisvilles and the Virginia Techs that have risen from unlikely circumstances to spend time with the nation's football royalty.

The Bears, mixing explosive junior college transfers with products of talent-rich coastal high schools, have won 18 of 21 games. They are incredibly large where it's important to be large. They're fast where it's critical to be fast. And coach Jeff Tedford has brought a level of aggressiveness that reminds of Florida State and Miami in their better days.

Dietz: Move from defense gives Jet new life on offensive line

NEW YORK – In 2002, Brandon Moore figured he was on the way to a great career as a defensive tackle with the New York Jets.

But things change quickly in the NFL, and the former Illini standout found that out after a couple training camp cuts and a fortuitous position switch.