Illinois offense hits mark

CHAMPAIGN – Seven matches into life after Erin Virtue, 24th-ranked Illinois is busy delivering a message to the rest of the college volleyball world:

Save the pity and forget about a collapse.

Dawson: Illini haven''t filled in the blanks just yet

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Note to copydesk: Saturday''s Illinois-Michigan State game – a (fill in score here) Illini loss, if you missed it – started looking awfully familiar awfully early.

With a long drive ahead, I wanted to get a head start on my postgame pontificating. So I''m sending this your way a little early. Don''t forget to add pertinent information &

So, here we go again.

Illinois football game statistics

Michigan State 38, Illinois 25

Rossow: Upon further review

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

UI basketball player finds home in ministry

Roger Powell Jr. unlocks the door and asks, before you can slide into the passenger seat of his charcoal-gray Chrysler, "You like gospel music?"

"Anything that isn''t country," you reply, and Powell gives an approving nod.

Hunt, Illini dominate

Led by winner Cassie Hunt, Illinois produced five of the top seven finishers to run away with the Saluki Invitational women''s cross-country title Saturday at Carbondale.

Hunt shattered her personal best in a 5-kilometer race, finishing in 17 minutes, 5.30 seconds. The Illini sophomore''s previous personal record was 17:57, set last year at the Pack-It-Up Illini Challenge in Urbana.

Dietz: New York isthe real deal for former Illini

Early in the season, you might have heard a lot of New York Giants complaining about "Coughlin Time." Seems that among head coach/head master Tom Coughlin''s many rules, being anything less than five minutes early is late.

Some Giants filed grievances, and others just griped. Former Illini Dave Diehl wasn''t one of them.

Tate: No defending Illini

EAST LANSING, Mich. – That persistent, nagging tap on the shoulder became a hammer between the eyes Saturday at Spartan Stadium.

Ron Turner''s Illini football operation, plain and simple, can''t play defense well enough to compete successfully in the power-packed Big Ten Conference. It is porous and sporadic up front and confused in the secondary.

Beutjer passed over again

EAST LANSING, Mich. – He stood on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap. Not the football one he thought he''d have on.

For the second consecutive week, Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer was benched in the second half. Chris Pazan took over for Beutjer and completed 5 of 11 passes in a 38-25 loss to Michigan State. Beutjer hit 10 of 14 in the first half for 96 yards.

It’s (finally) here

For those who’ve experienced withdrawal since Bruce Weber and the Illini bowed out in March, college basketball is right around the corner. The News-Gazette’s Brett Dawson provides a peek: