Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Parent: Son might press for charges

The father of a University of Illinois student says that at least two suspended UI basketball players were among a group of people that broke into his son's apartment and stole about $3,000 worth of merchandise.

Randy Brown, whose son is a junior at Illinois, said Thursday that Luther Head and Aaron Spears were two of a group of men who broke into his son's Champaign apartment the morning of Nov. 2 and stole electronic equipment and clothes.

Rossow: It only can get better for alumni

We''d like to tell you everything is well with your football program. Isn''t that what all alumni want to hear when they come back for homecoming? That and the drinks are on the house, donations aren''t necessary and your kids will never, ever find out about that all-campus toga party you threw.

Besides, if you haven''t been back since last year, you''d probably buy it if we said the Illini are fielding a competitive team. Last time you checked, they were crowning the king, the queen and the Hoosiers in a 45-14 homecoming rout. The way Illinois finished 2002 had a lot of folks other than yourself thinking big this fall.

UI reeling despite highlight

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In practices leading up to Saturday''s game at Purdue, Illinois assistant coach Greg McMahon told E.B. Halsey he''d return a punt for a touchdown.

"He actually said that," Halsey said, "and I believed him."

Rossow: Listless Illini fading fast to irrelevance

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – We don''t really need to remind you what happened late Saturday afternoon. Surely you watched it, yelling at the TV at every big play, rushing to grab snacks at any commercial break and blaming the coaches when things went wrong.

But as a reader service, we''ll give you the final score one more time:

Rossow: Mistakes, bad breaks<br>mounting

CHAMPAIGN – The yellow hankie first caught Jeff Ruffin''s attention as he was jumping up and down in the end zone.

At the time, the Illinois defensive lineman dismissed it as nothing too important.

Halsey bright spot in dull effort

CHAMPAIGN – The yards are nice, and E.B. Halsey is finding all sorts of ways to get them.

But for the Illinois freshman, they''re as unsatisfying as the outcome of Saturday''s game, a 38-20 Illini loss to Wisconsin.

Rossow: Reunion ''special'' for coach

Those of us who aren''t convinced Illinois can recover from another 1-3 start need to spend a little more time with Pete Elliott.

The former Illinois coach knows a thing or two about football U-turns. He managed to direct a program that had lost 15 of 17 games to a Rose Bowl championship in less time than it takes C-U bars to change last call.

Rossow: Cal can be a blueprint for rebound

CHAMPAIGN – In an attempt to gauge the fragile state of Illinois football accurately, we at The News-Gazette commissioned an expensive, highly scientific survey of fans at Saturday''s game against Cal.

The expensive part: $6.50 for a hot dog and soft drink to occupy time in between interviews.

The scientific part: Grab as many fans as we could leaving Memorial Stadium after the Illini''s latest we-should-have-won loss.

The results: Illinois sure is good in men''s tennis.

Broken record for Beutjer

CHAMPAIGN – Jon Beutjer did his best Jimmy V on Saturday.

He didn''t give up – didn''t ever give up – against California. But the result was as it has been so often for Beutjer at Illinois.

Rossow: Ain''t that a kick in the head?

PASADENA, Calif. – UCLA employs an annoying old-timer to roam the sidelines with a megaphone, urging thousands of tanned fans to yell as if a surfing contest is taking place.

So when John Gockman lined up to kick a 43-yard field goal that would have tied Saturday''s game in the waning seconds, the aging cheerleader had the Rose Bowl sounding like it does Jan. 1.