Mendenhall quick to show improvement

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Rashard Mendenhall couldn't believe it. He got caught from behind. By another football player.

Toward the end of his 79-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, Mendenhall heard teammate Frank Lenti Jr. shout "Rashard, tuck the ball."

Asmussen: Title game might be<br>all-Big Ten

Brace yourselves, Big Ten believers. You could be in for a wild ride.

With seven weeks left in the football season, the general assumption is that the Big Ten will have one team in the BCS title game.

Penn State, State College cashing in on big crowds

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Illinois' game last Saturday against Ohio drew 34,328. Penn State's game last Saturday against Michigan drew 110,007.

Let's do the math: the difference in the crowd was 75,679. That means three Illinois-Ohio games wouldn't outdraw one Penn State-Michigan game.

A weekly chat with Bob Asmussen

This week's guest: defensive tackle Josh Norris.

Catching up with ... Peter Christofilakos

He stands ninth on the Illinois career field goal list and was the team's leading scorer in 2001 and '02. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even on scholarship. One of the best days of Peter Christofilakos' career came in Illinois' 33-28 victory against Penn State in 2001. He gave the team the lead in the fourth quarter with a pair of field goals.

Zook hoping for better outcome this time

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The building looks quite a bit different since the last time Ron Zook visited Penn State in 1981. The school has added thousands upon thousands of seats and put in luxury boxes. There weren't any when Zook came for a mauling as a Cincinnati assistant.

"This will be a great experience for our guys," Zook said after arriving at Beaver Stadium early Friday evening. "We're looking forward to it."

Defense powers soccer at home

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois soccer team continues to defend its home turf when ranked teams come calling this season.

The Illini defense isn't half bad, either.


Storylines from Saturday's game:

Season tickets sell out again

CHAMPAIGN – Season tickets for the Illinois men's basketball team sold out for the third consecutive season, but fans still have chances to catch Bruce Weber's team in person.

"It is great that our fans are excited enough about our program to sell out the Assembly Hall in season tickets for the third straight season," Weber said. "We appreciate everyone's support of the Illini basketball program. Now, to keep the Assembly Hall as the best home court in America, we need all the seats filled for every game."

McCulley makes most of first start

CHAMPAIGN – The first start of Kylie McCulley's collegiate volleyball career came on short notice.

And that was just fine with the Illinois freshman.