Third's word for UI

CHICAGO – If Cory Bradford and Victor Chukwudebe wanted to find out what it takes to go from worst one year to winners the next, all they had to do was walk across the room Sunday at Big Ten media day and ask the experts.

Ohio State's Scoonie Penn, Michael Redd and Jim O'Brien are happy to share their secrets.

Johnson leaves Illinois bench

   CHAMPAIGN  For the first time since Week 2, Kirk Johnson played quarterback for Illinois in Saturday''s 27-7 loss to No. 2 Penn State.

   He''ll return to the bench against Iowa.

Sticky fingers

CHAMPAIGN – Burn Tony Francis on a touchdown pass and he'll trot out his favorite motto: Don't get mad. Get an interception. Or two.

Twenty minutes into Saturday's game against Penn State, the Illini senior cornerback was looking for some payback.

Illini Women's Basketball Report


Senior Susan Blauser is working out the kinks in her troublesome left ankle. The all-Big Ten forward had surgery in April to remove a bone chip that doctors discovered before the 1998-99 season. Blauser chose to wait until after the season to have it removed.

Former Illini make their presence felt

Nearly halfway through the NFL season, Greg Engel's out and Matt Cushing's back in. Dana Howard's at home, and Cyron Brown is in big trouble.

It's been an interesting season so far for Illinois' professional football alums. Some have come up big in prime time, and one is a savior in the Land of Lakes. Others have been bitten by the NFL's injury bug, but most have found some success.

Good news: At least Illini broke a sweat

Ron Turner won't have his regulars in pads today like he did the afternoon after Minnesota, tackling each other despite all their aches and pains. He won't have them jog to Sadorus and back or dig ditches around Memorial Stadium.

He can save his motivational tricks for another day, because the Illini tried Saturday. They huffed and puffed for all four quarters.

Casey treats teammates with TD dash

CHAMPAIGN – Tough to say who had the better run Saturday at Memorial Stadium: Penn State quarterback Rashard Casey late in the third quarter or his 72-year-old coach following his postgame Q&A.

"I want to go home and trick or treat," Joe Paterno said, dodging reporters and TV cameras on his way out the locker room door. "I've got grandkids."

Illinois volleyball takes hit

Illinois no longer is thinking about winning a Big Ten volleyball title. It's more worried about an NCAA berth.

The Illini capped an 0-2 weekend with a five-game loss at Purdue on Saturday. The 15-9, 15-9, 6-15, 6-15, 15-10 setback left Illinois at 12-6 overall, 8-4 Big Ten.

Game 8 Stats

How they scored

Harvey's highlight reel all Illinois can muster

Veteran Steve Havard has had his moments. And newcomer Antoineo Harris had his shot.

But diminutive sophomore Rocky Harvey, capitalizing Saturday on his first start since last season, is the Illini running back for the upcoming three-game "bowl quest."