CHAMPAIGN – On Saturday, he'll try to beat the guys wearing the plain, white helmets. But E.B. Halsey could just as easily have been with Penn State.
Offered a scholarship by the school after a standout career in Elizabeth, N.J., Halsey gave strong consideration to Joe Paterno's team. Ultimately, he signed with Illinois.
I was a four-time NCAA qualifier in wrestling and rank eighth on the Illini career victories list with 110. I won more than 70 percent of my matches during a career that spanned from 1994-98. In 1996, I was named the Illini's most improved wrestler and also won the team award that year for most pins. I completed my career as an All-American, placing sixth at 177 pounds at the 1998 NCAA meet.
Illinois on his mind
Once upon a time, Dennis Felton's name was thrown about as a potential successor if Bill Self left Illinois. By the time Self took the Kansas job, Felton already had left Western Kentucky for a new job at Georgia.
On Monday, though, Felton found his way to Champaign.
Was Saturday typical of the television excitement that Illini fans miss while watching the home team? Or was this simply the most remarkable day in football history for heart-stopping finishes among teams in which Illinoisans have an interest?
Here we are, grumbling about the misfortune of supporting a team that is infrequently bowl-worthy. But imagine the chin-in-cups chagrin, the bitter disappointment, the frustration of building high expectations and suffering the kind of setbacks we saw Saturday.
CHAMPAIGN – The game was more than 24 years ago. And Ron Zook still can tell you the score the first time he went against Joe Paterno and Penn State.
"My second game as defensive coordinator when I was at Cincinnati," Zook said. "He threw 52 (points) on us."
I am the Illinois football team's all-time leader in career passing yards. By the time my Illini days were done in 1985, I'd thrown for 8,725 yards. I also top the all-time Illini charts in career completions (797) and single-season completions (322 in 1985). Many of my passes went to UI career receptions leader David Williams. I was selected in the second round of the 1986 draft by the Indianapolis Colts and played with three NFL teams through 1995.
CHAMPAIGN – After a one-week break from 11 a.m. kickoffs, Illinois will be back to playing morning football on Oct. 29.
The Illinois-Wisconsin game at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff. ESPN will broadcast the game, the first time Illinois will be on the network this season.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – It had been a first-rate weekend for the Illinois basketball program, but Sherron Collins put a little rain on the parade. Collins, the Chicago Crane point guard who had been one of the Illini's prime recruiting targets, committed to Kansas over the weekend after a visit for the Jayhawks' Late Night celebration.
The 5-foot-9 News-Gazette All-Stater had been considering Illinois and Iowa. He joins Kansas freshman Julian Wright as top in-state players to choose the Jayhawks the past two seasons.
CHAMPAIGN – Some of them are in the NBA. Others are emerging college stars. One of them is one of the most recognizable basketball players on the planet.
These are Rich McBride's contemporaries, the high school class of 2003.
CHAMPAIGN – No, the Illinois volleyball team didn't manage to knock off No. 9 Minnesota on Saturday night at Huff Hall.
The Illini did, however, accomplish something against the Gophers that no other team has this season.