McPhearson making his pitch to play

CHAMPAIGN – A college football career delayed two games by injury could be starting as early as Saturday. Against the nation's No. 15-ranked team.

Illinois freshman receiver Derrick McPhearson continued to increase his practice workload Monday. Recovering from a broken leg suffered during the summer, McPhearson definitely will travel with the team to California.

Illinois facing long odds at California

CHAMPAIGN – The oddsmakers have spoken. Illinois is an underdog for the first time this season. A big underdog.

California is considered 21 points better than Illinois at most Las Vegas casinos.

Tate: Pain, pain go away

Perception being reality, the Big Ten can't absorb a more devastating blow to the football reputation than what happened last weekend.

What can be worse than the three top-rated teams – Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa – losing their only showdown games of their non-conference schedules?

The day after

A review of Saturday's game and a look ahead at the California Bears:

Who's that Illini?

I led the Illini women's basketball team in scoring in 1992-93 at 14.3 points a game, playing alongside Jill Estey. I was a high-scoring guard at Parkland before transferring to Illinois, where I played one season.

Soccer shines on coast

SAN FRANCISCO – Eva Strickland and Laura Redmond each scored a goal as the Illinois women's soccer team beat host San Francisco 2-0 on Sunday to close out the City by the Bay Classic.

Illinois finished 1-0-1 for the tournament and improved to 3-1-2 on the season.

Ex-Illini in the NFL

Here's how former Illini players performed in Sunday's NFL games:

Illini turn attention to California

CHAMPAIGN – By mid-afternoon Sunday, Illinois coaches were finishing up their look back at San Jose State. And turning their attention to California.

The No. 15-ranked Bears are coming off a blowout win against Washington. In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the California offense, Jeff Tedford's team has put up 48.5 points and 476 yards in two easy victories. Remember, the Bears lost both quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tailback J.J. Arrington to the NFL.

Momentum back on Brasic's side

CHAMPAIGN – It didn't take Tim Brasic a half to warm up. More like one series.

The Illinois junior quarterback, fresh off a winning second half against Rutgers in the opener, kept it going Saturday against San Jose State. Brasic completed 17 of 22 passes for 199 yards. He also ran eight times for 20 yards and two touchdowns.

UI football game statistics

Illinois 40, San Jose State 19