Illinois-Purdue: Brutally Honest Game Preview

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When you hear Illinois vs. Purdue, its sounds like a great Big Ten Tournament title game in Men’s basketball right? Well this Saturday the match on the gridiron, features two teams that will likely end up bowl eligible, so the winner likely gets a leg up in the bowl selection hierarchy come December.

Is Illinois the greatest 4-3 team in history? Maybe! They have faced the toughest schedule in the nation thus far according to the official NCAA schedule strength rankings. Illinois’ opponents have a combined record of 35-9 this season vs. Division I opponents (not counting their game vs. Illinois).

The three losses this season (Missouri, Ohio State and Michigan State) have a combined record of 22-1, with all three ranked in the top-11 of the current BCS standings. Illinois led two of the games at halftime and was on the verge of tying Ohio State late in the game before falling short in the red zone late in the fourth quarter.

By Paul M. Banks

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One Cream Puff Too Many for the Buckeyes?

Last Saturday was a great day for camping. The cool autumn air quickened my bloodstream, the moon laced the woods with a lustrous silver light, and the Ohio State Buckeyes—along with most of the Big Ten—welcomed a cream puff into their home stadium for an early season feast.

Cream puffs are tasty and go down easy with a hot drink, but watching someone eat a cream puff for sixty minutes is not must-see entertainment. I hope you used last Saturday wisely: finally put new brakes on the car, maybe split some firewood for the winter, or, even better, escaped the hometown with your lover for a romantic weekend, because the Big Ten season starts this Saturday, the talent gap closes, and the football gets interesting and mean.

Hans Hetrick

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Illini Take Down Salukis, Win Game They Should Have

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In the end it was a win that the Illini HAD to have.

Given the events of September 11th, 2010, it was far from a sure thing. [Read more…]

Illini are Mikel LeShoure’s Team Now

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Illinois Fighting Illini runner Mikel LeShoure (6-0, 225) wears Rashard Mendenhall’s number (remember him? the 2008 NFL first round draft pick and current Pittsburgh Steelers star), and last year he started to display a little bit of Shard’s 2007 level of production and talent. In ’09 LeShoure rushed the ball 108 times for 734 yards and 5 TDs, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

“When Mike Locksley was recruiting me, he was telling me that if Rashard was going to the NFL, which they thought he would, then I would get my same high school number. Turns out it worked out that way,” LeShoure said at Illini Media Day in ’09.

“Shard did take over the 2nd half of the season, and I’m sure all four of us want to be that guy,” he said later that day when tailback1 on the Illini depth chart was still in question.

In 2010, LeShoure greeted the Media as THE guy.

By Paul M. Banks

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Ron Zook on The Rose Bowl, Being Relaxed and Martez Wilson at Media Day

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Perhaps the fate of University of Illinois football coach Ron Zook DOES lie in this year’s performance. He’s not feeling the pressure to win now, however, either way.

“No, I don’t, to be honest with you,” Zook said at Monday’s media day press conferences. “I think everyone that stands up here today has got pressure.  Obviously some of us have more than others.  I think the thing that you try to do is you do the best you can do.”

The problem with that statement is that over the last couple of seasons, Zook’s best hasn’t nearly been good enough. [Read more…]

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