Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Rossow: Upon further review

– There were too many incompletions, fumbles and interceptions. But what he lacked in efficiency, Juice Williams more than made up in potential. Ron Zook didn't name his starting quarterback after Saturday's game, but the question didn't really need to be asked. The freshman got better by the quarter, looking like he belonged in the Big Ten by 2 p.m. or so. By the time Indiana comes to town for homecoming, he'll be comfortable enough to make the alumni happy (for a change).

Ten questions for ... Gary Barta

Gary Barta, a former quarterback at Divsion II power North Dakota State, now is quarterbacking one of the Big Ten's finest athletic departments. Bob Bowlsby's replacement as athletic director, the 43-year-old has plenty to brag about in football alone: a renovated Kinnick Stadium, a Top 15 program and a soughst-after coach. Always a sports nut — he dabbled in sportscasting before beginning a 19-year run in college administration — Barta will be among thousands of Hawkeyes fans at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Before he left, Barta chatted with sports editor Jim Rossow:

Rossow: Upon further review

– The worst thing about Saturday's game wasn't the dropped passes, the fumbles or the penalties. It was the reaction from the Syracuse players afterward. To sum up, there was no doubt in their minds they would win. This from a team that had lost a school-record 11 games in a row, from a team that was a road underdog, from a team one would think might be lacking confidence entering Memorial Stadium. It's clear respect for Illinois football has dropped to a record low.

Big Ten football preview

Jim Rossow's random thoughts:

Ten questions for ... Richard Herman

As usual, Richard Herman will spend Saturday rooting for the Illinois football team. Before the game, however, the Illinois chancellor will be cheered himself as he is recognized as a 2006 recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He joins heavy hitters like Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, Bill Bradley and Donald Rumsfeld as some of the best the Boy Scouts have had to offer. Herman took time out from his busy week leading up to Foundation Day to talk to sports editor Jim Rossow about the great outdoors, the new Memorial Stadium and Nancy Cantor.

Freshman kicking himself after error

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Kyle Yelton's worst critic is a freshman who wears No. 37.

"I need to get better," the Illinois punter said.

Rossow: Upon further review

– If you're fed up with football coverage by this point, let me recommend other pages in this section that won't leave you so down in the dumps. Like Loren Tate's basketball column on D-7. Or Jeff Huth's look at 10 Illini you should know on D-11. Or Jeff Mezydlo's thoughts on the Bears on D-10. If you want to know what we were thinking during Saturday's rout at Rutgers, visit our Web site for the blog "Live From Rutgers."

– If you didn't watch or listen and saw the score "Rutgers 33, Illinois 0," there's a chance you might not think it was so bad. Think again. The season's first loss felt more like 66-0. Rutgers was that dominant. And Illinois was that bad. At least Ron Zook said as much afterward.

Big Ten football preview

Jim Rossow's random thoughts:

Rossow: Upon further review

– Illinois won handily. The weather was perfect. And Eric Gordon didn't decommit during a reported weekend visit to Indiana. Overall, a pretty good Saturday for Illinois. But keep in mind Eastern Illinois was missing its head coach and, by the end of the opening kickoff, its best defender.

That's Division I-AA Eastern Illinois. If the Illini score 42 points against Rutgers, it'll mean a bit more.

Big Ten football preview

Jim Rossow's random thoughts: