CHAMPAIGN – Kevin from Indianapolis is on the phone.
"I''m a season ticket-holder and I-Club member," Kevin said. "I''m just trying to search for things to get excited about or things to be positive about. Sometimes it''s hard to make a two-hour drive over and two-hour drive home. I really get stirred up on the inside. Could you give me some things to be positive about?"
Kayani Turner won''t play for the Orange Crush next fall, but she will play in front of them.
The 6-foot-1 volleyball player from Bel Air, Md., orally committed to Illinois this week, joining a program that counts among its fans members of that vociferous student group, Orange Krush.
The Phoenix Suns on Tuesday acquired three players, including former Illini Robert Arch-ibald, from the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Bo Outlaw and center Jake Tsakalidis.
The Suns also got guard Brevin Knight and center Cezary Trybanski in the deal that Suns president Bryan Colangelo said will allow the team greater flexibility.
The Illinois players aren''t happy about their record. But they aren''t snipping at each other about it either, defensive tackle Ryan Matha said.
"We''re upset," Matha said. "Nobody expected us to come out at the start of the season and be 1-4 at this point. It''s disappointing. No way at all are we going to give up on this season. We still have seven games left. If we win every one of them, that''s 8-4 and we''re off to a bowl game. That''s the goal right now."
Whatever else you might think about John Mackovic, remember: Illinois went 4-0 vs. Ohio State during his coaching term (1988-91), highlighting a 12-year period in which the UI defeated the Buckeyes eight times.
Jeff George passed Ohio State into submission in 1988 and, when his chance came, Jason Verduzco stepped up. And who can forget Mike Poloskey''s illegal lateral to a dashing Quinton Parker on the blocked field goal that capped a 31-20 road triumph in 1990.
The search here today is for reasons, not excuses.
What forces caused Illinois to accept a 21-0 deficit after Wisconsin''s first three series Saturday ... and a waterfall of 307 rushing yards even as the Illini knew what was coming?
How could the Badgers become so dominant against a team that whipped them the last two years and sent Antoineo Harris bounding for 185 yards last year in Madison?
Illinois'' home game against Michigan State on Oct. 11 will kick off at 11 a.m. The game will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2.
Every game has a defining moment when the outcome is established. Here is the play from Saturday''s Illinois-Wisconsin game: