CHAMPAIGN – If any batter in Illinois' lineup was a marked man entering this season, it was Andy Schutzenhofer.
Freshman All-American. First-team All-Big Ten pick. The conference's top returnee in hits, RBI and runs scored. The Illini's leader in batting average and co-leader in home runs in 2000.
Lindsey Hamma knocked in three runs with two hits for the Illini in their 5-1 win against Indiana State on Wednesday.
CHAMPAIGN – Ten games into his college career, Mike O'Brien didn't have much to complain about.
A low-profile recruit out of Chicago Marist, the Illinois defensive end quickly moved up the depth chart. Of a bowl-bound team.
All night long, the 600-plus faithful waited ... applauding comments by Ron Guenther and Michael Aiken ... cheering Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's reference to a "seamless transition" and his presentation of the basketball co-championship trophy ... responding to the words of first-year basketball coach Bill Self and the squad's four seniors.
Then, as the 79th Kiwanis banquet was winding down to its final award, the new Illini MVP got his opportunity at the microphone.
Going into his 27th year as a college assistant, new Illinois defensive line coach Donnie Thompson has coached a pack of future NFL players. Here are his five favorites:
Adversaries of Chief Illiniwek, in their creative, ever-more-brazen and increasingly damaging efforts, have struck the rawest of nerves.
Cleared by a federal court injunction, they now threaten to "hold hostage" prospective basketball recruits by calling to paint their version of racism on the UI campus.
CHAMPAIGN – If you want to eat your Thanksgiving turkey and watch Illinois-Northwestern football, you are going to have to buy a ticket.
The Nov. 22 game at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for a noon kickoff. And there won't be a telecast outside the building.
CHAMPAIGN – Go ahead, give the Bowdens the title of college football's first family.
But No. 2, and making a move, has to be the Mallory clan.
URBANA – Graydon Oliver and Amer Delic don't have a lot in common.
Oliver is a senior. Delic is a freshman. Oliver is studying business, and Delic's major is architecture. Oliver is looking for his second national tennis title. Delic is looking to rebound from a broken wrist.
On an afternoon when senior Rocky Harvey pulls a hamstring – as happened Saturday – Illini coach Ron Turner must turn innovative in "covering up" for a shortage in his primary ball-carrying position.
But don't be misled.