Q&A: Mike Cassity

   Illinois opponents are scoring a touchdown less a game, gaining 30 fewer yards and turning the ball over more. The guy who deserves plenty of the credit is new defensive coordinator Mike Cassity, who brought an aggressive style to a unit that was ready to learn.

   Q:What''s it like in the press box during games?

Hockey: Cyclones edge Illini

   Cyclones edge Illini. Captain Brian Tilden scored a short-handed goal in the first period for Illinois, but host Iowa State rallied to win 3-1 Friday night in Ames, Iowa.

Illinois finds all-star teams hard to crack

   Kurt Kittner and Brandon Lloyd will lead Illinois against Wisconsin in Saturday''s homecoming showdown.

   They are the most recognizable members of the team, the leaders. They''re always in the fans'' cross hairs. When Kittner misses an open receiver, it''s Oh, my, what''s wrong? When Lloyd catches seven or eight passes, that''s considered normal.

Pitcher convinced by coach, Illini''s potential

   WILMETTE - Jake Toohey has a considerable wait before he can play at Illinois Field, but the Illini''s latest baseball recruit might take the field this fall at another campus venue.

   Toohey is the starting quarterback for Loyola Academy''s 7-1 football team. And after the Ramblers knocked off defending state 5A champion Chicago Mount Carmel last weekend, Toohey and his teammates have their sights set on reaching the state finals at the UI''s Memorial Stadium.

IHSA pairings must-see TV for area fans

   High school football fans might want to save some television time 7-9 p.m. Saturday.

    The IHSA will unveil the football playoff brackets on its own network, which includes cable systems across the state.

Illinois, center mingle

   PHILADELPHIA - Keith Butler is working to put the past year behind him.

   The future ahead of him is worth looking forward to.

Rolling the bowl dice

   The mission statement at the top of the board reads "Big Ten Champions." But Illinois can reach a simpler goal Saturday: Bowl eligibility.

   Beat Wisconsin, and the Illini are in with four games to go. Destination to be determined.

Illinois Football Practice Report

   He already has played against Minnesota''s Ron Johnson and Michigan''s Marquise Walker. On Saturday, Illinois cornerback Eugene Wilson will try to stop Wisconsin''s Lee Evans, the Big Ten''s leading receiver.

   I look at it as an opportunity, Wilson said. When you''ve got a receiver that''s coming in with big numbers, obviously he''s getting the ball. They''re going to throw him some balls. Hopefully, I''m on him when they throw those balls.

Trudeau pulling for Kittner to break record, help team to bowl bid

When John Trudeau was learning to read, he branched out from "Dr. Seuss" and "Winnie The Pooh."

While standing on the sidelines at an Illinois game, the toddler paged through an Illini football program and noticed his dad''s name atop various passing records set in the 1980s.

Illinois Men''s Basketball Practice Report

   The public has been closed out of Illinois practices early, but fans will get a chance Saturday to glance the Illini.

   The Illini will scrimmage for about an hour Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. They''ll practice for an hour before, and fans are invited to show up anytime after 8:30 a.m.