Archive for September, 2013

Our 2013 BCS Picks

Posted on September 18, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who will play for the final BCS championship?

Since everyone has played at least one game, and we do NOT believe in pre-season polls too much, here is our Bowl Matchup predictions.

2014-BCS Bama-helmet vs. oregeon-helmet

rosebowlohiostate-helmet vs. stanford-helmet

sugarbowl   SoCarolina-helmet vs. floridaSt

fiestabowl boisestate vs. oklahomastate

orangebowl clemson-helmet vs. louisville-helmet

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BIG TEN Week 3 recap

Posted on September 16, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Stunning weekend in the Big Ten…

September 15, 2013

Huskies 34,  illini helmet24 ~click here to read our recap!

 purdue-helmet31,NotreDame-helmet24

The Boilermakers came to play taking an early lead of 10-3 at the half against the Irish but couldn’t stop the visitors from scoring in the fourth quarter. The Irish scored 21 points in the fourth quarter which proved to be enough to steal a victory 31-24 on Saturday night.

Notre Dame receiver DaVaris Daniels staggered Purdue with two late touchdowns. Three plays after his second score, teammate Bennett Jackson delivered the final blow — a 34-yard interception return for a score.

“I was never worried in the sense there was a panic,” Kelly said. “I felt really confident that we were going to win the football game. We just needed to settle down a little bit.”

michigan-helmet28, Akron 24

One the winningest program in college football might have just had its worst win.

Fitzgerald Toussaint scored a go-ahead, 2-yard touchdown with 2:49 left and Michigan made a desperately needed stop on the final play to hold on for a 28-24 victory over Akron on Saturday.

It’s something about Michigan (3-0) and the Mid-American Conference, where they seem to have a few problems as they did with Appalachian State and Toledo.

nebraska121, UCLA 41

The Bruins came back from 18 points down behind the fine play of QB Brett Hundley, who threw three touchdown passes and stunned Nebraska 41-21 in front of a record crowd of 91,471 on Saturday.

The win for UCLA came six days after receiver Nick Pasquale was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while he was walking in his hometown and a day before coaches and teammates travel to San Clemente, Calif., for his memorial service.

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OTHER NOTEABLES

Minnesota 29, Western Illinois 12

Indiana 42, Bowling Green 10

Michigan State 55, Youngstown 17

Iowa 27, Iowa St 21

Ohio State 52, Cal 34

Western Michigan 17, Northwestern 38

Wisconsin 30, Arizona State 32

BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS click here2

by Adam Rittenberg & Brian Bennett

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Ranking NCAA Football Conferences 2013

Posted on September 16, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who’s the TOP College football conference?

August 28, 2013

10sunbelt

Who? Okay…. we needed a 10th conference…

9 confUSA

Louisiana Tech is fun to watch… next

8Mid-American

Northern Illinois dominates this conference every year and this year will NOT be any different but the rest of the teams struggle.

7MountainWest

There’s Boise State and a bunch of other teams… Next!

6AmericanConf

Louisville, Cincy and Rutgers are all gonna battle and that makes this conference tough.

5  acc

It’s all about Clemson and Florida State, but still nothing to sneeze at here.

4BigTen-Logo

Right night, it’s hard to imagine any team long-term outperforming The Ohio State this year, even though Wisconsin will try their best to keep things close since they are in the same conference (Leaders). On the other side of the division, Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern will fight and scratch to the end in order to play the Buckeyes in the championship game December 7 in Indianapolis.

3Big12

This 10-team league is wide-open with contenders like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Baylor and Kansas State at the top. Who will prevail? See ya in December…

2  Pac12

Right away, when you think Pac-12 you think Stanford and Oregon, which is absolutely correct but don’t sleep on Arizona State and UCLA this season.

1SEC

As much as we would love to put another conference on top, the reality of it all is we can’t. Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, etc… would dominate any conference listed below – hands down. Thus, SEC again is the top football conference – PERIOD!

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Illinois lose to Washington 34-24 for the Chicago Homecoming

Posted on September 14, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Huskiesillini helmet

Two undefeated teams come into Soldier Field – one will stay undefeated – who?

September 14, 2013

CHICAGO – Both teams come into the season undefeated, but only one can leave Soldier Field n the same manner… who will it be?

Well tonight it is Washington, who held off Illinois 34-24.

Huskies senior quarterback Keith Price led the charge going 28-35 for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns. Followed by running back Bishop Sankey, who added 35 carries for 208 and two scores. The first score in the game came in the second quarter on a 25 yard pass from Price.

Illinois needed a fast start, big plays on offense and a bend-but-don’t-break defense to upset “ranked” Washington. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it in the first half where Washington led 10-3. And to start the second half, the Huskies picked up where they left off at, with a 4 play touchdown drive featuring Sankey, who scored on a short run, giving the visitors a commanding lead of 17-3.

Washington dominating first half stats in just about all of the important ones: first downs (14-8), rushing (67-32), total yards (278-93), and the most important one, score 10-3.

After the Huskies (2-0) marched down the field with the third-quarter kickoff for a 17-3 lead, the Illinois offense answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a two-yard naked bootleg by Nathan Scheelhaase with four tight ends on the field.

Nathan Scheelhaase finished the game 9 for 25 for 156 yards, 1 interception, one touchdown in the air and one on the ground.

‘‘Anytime you walk off the field without the win, there’s something missing,’’ Scheelhaase said. ‘‘We kept throwing punches, kept giving it all we had. It’s fun to be a part of that. I didn’t see that a lot last year. It was good to see that.’’

In retrospect, I want to say that all was not lost in this first loss of the season. The Illini (2-1), who trailed basically the entire game, found a way to hang around in that first half with their defense, which is looking better than anticipated — because not much was anticipated. That defense, which gave up a scary 615 yards, will need to get better. But the Illini have faith. Here the bottom line is the young Illinois defense needs to tackle better — and it will learn to do that in time.

‘‘If we were in this situation last year, it might have turned sour,’’ senior linebacker Jonathan Brown said. ‘‘But these guys fought to the end. They showed heart. With a performance like that, you can find the things you need to improve on.’’

There is still time to make adjustments and put together the right Illini plan moving forward. And their bye week comes at a good time too.

‘‘Our players came out knowing they had a chance to win this game and fought to the end,’’ coach Tim Beckman said.

Up next for the 2-1 Fighting Illini is Miami (OH), September 28 in Champaign.

statefarm1

University of Illinois rolled out the red carpet and added some of the best Chicagoland and Illinois icons beginning with Jim Cornelison, fulltime national anthem singer for the 2013 Stanley Cup champions Blackhawks, who put goose bumps on everyone in attendance. In addition, Chicago Bear Hall of Famer and Illini alum, Dick Butkus tossed the ceremonial coin to begin the game.

ABOUT WASHINGTON (1-0): Senior quarterback Keith Price passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State and is 115 yards away from overtaking Brock Huard (6,391 yards from 1996-98) for third place on the school’s all-time list. Junior tailback Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards (his fifth 100-yard performance in his last six games) in a strong opening-game salvo to follow up last year’s 1,439-yard season. Junior middle linebacker – and defensive leader – John Timu racked up 13 tackles in the opener while senior safety Sean Parker made an interception.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-0): Cubit’s effect on quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been stunning as the senior has six touchdown passes in two games to surpass last season’s output (four in 246 attempts). Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards in the opener against Southern Illinois and followed up with 312 in last Saturday’s 45-17 rout of favored Cincinnati. The defense, which has experienced issues while allowing an average of 431 yards, is led by senior outside linebacker Jonathan Brown (14 tackles against Cincinnati, 23 overall), sophomore middle linebacker Mason Monheim (2.5 tackles for loss among 18 stops) and junior strong safety Earnest Thomas III (16 tackles in two games).

FUN NOTES for Fighting Illini

• The Fighting Illini (2-0) look to continue their hot start on Saturday when they head to the Windy City to host No. 19/23 Washington at Soldier Field for Chicago Homecoming (5 p.m. CT, BTN). A win would make Illinois 3-0 for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. The other was in 2011, when the Illini started the season 6-0.

• Following Saturday’s shellacking of Cincinnati, the Illini are receiving votes in both polls for the first time since Oct. 24, 2011. Illinois sits 34th in the AP poll (nine votes) and 39th in the coaches poll (three votes).

• Illinois faces its first top-25 opponent of the season on Saturday as Washington is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

• Scheelhaase has more passing touchdowns (six) in two games than 102 of the 123 FBS teams. He also has thrown for 728 yards, more than 116 of 123 FBS teams through week 2.

• Scheelhaase’s 728 yards are the most in Illinois’ first two games of a season since Jason Verduzco passed for 783 yards in the first two games of 1991. Scheelhaase also has six passing touchdowns, equaling the school record for most TD passes in the first two games of a season shared by Juice Williams (2008) and Kurt Kittner (2000).

• Senior LB and Butkus Award candiate Jonathan Brown leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in tackles (11.5 tpg). Brown had 14 stops against Cincinnati, a B1G single-game high this season.

• Washington leads the all-time series with the Illini by a 5-4 margin, but the teams haven’t met since 1972. The two programs are 2-2 in games played in Champaign, while Washington holds a 3-1 margin in Seattle. The Illini notched a 17-7 win in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Illinois will travel to Seattle in the third week of 2014 for a Sept. 13 tilt at Husky Stadium.

• This year is the 50th anniversary of Illinois’ 1964 Rose Bowl victory over the Huskies, an Illini squad that was led by Chicago-born Illini legends Dick Butkus and Jim Grabowski. Washington took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, but Illinois’ defense took over and the Illini managed touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for the 17-7 final score. Grabowski earned MVP honors, finishing with 125 yards and a touchdown.

#Illini defeated Washington in ’64 @rosebowlgame, 17-7. In the 50th anniversary @illinifootball hoping for repeat Sat, Sep 14 at @SoldierField. http://pic.twitter.com/otoTCpKtgA

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Illini win game one

Posted on September 13, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Salukisillini helmet

Illini get the season rolling with a victory 42-34

August 31, 2013

CHAMPAIGN — Nathan Scheelhaase got things started a\early and that was enough for the teams first win of the season, Saturday’s 42-34  over visiting Southern Illinois.  He also threw for a career-high 416 passing yards under the revamped offense and his performance was enough to avoid a late charge from the Salukis.

“The biggest thing is just feeling excited about a win,” said Scheelhaase, who completed 28 of 36 passes with two touchdowns as Illinois broke a nine-game skid. “To be able to come out feeling good about what happened, that’s the biggest thing rather than how many yards we threw for.”

Saturday’s game actually wasn’t decided until SIU quarterback Kory Faulkner sailed a pass from the 3 too high for tight end Adam Fuehner in the end zone on the final play. The Salukis nearly overcame a 22-point, late third-quarter deficit and could have forced overtime.

statefarm1

V’Angelo Bentley’s school record-tying 100-yard kickoff return for a score in the third quarter along with Josh Ferguson’s 53-yard yard touchdown catch off a screen pass in the second were two big plays the Illini sorely needed to avoid embarrassment. One could imagine the fallout had the Illini found a way to lose, particularly with second-year coach Tim Beckman already feeling heat after last season’s 2-10 record.

“Although it was not the most glorious win, I was very proud of the way the team fought,” Beckman said. “There’s no question we have to make some strides.”

“We’re here to win. We’re here to score points,” Beckman said. “We’re here to do what we need to do to be successful.

“We might have thought that we’d take a knee and run out the (half). We ain’t doing that anymore. We’re here to win.”

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The mentality around Illinois football obviously has changed and many people are looking forward to seeing more from them over the season.

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Illini Chicago Homecoming Game

Posted on September 13, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Huskiesillini helmet

Illini host ranked Washington

September 13, 2013

Just two games into the 2013 season, but the state of Illinois is buzzing for the Fighting Illini, who are 2-0, after defeating top-contender Cincinnati 45-17 last week in a very impressionable fashion.

statefarm1

On the other side of the ball, Washington (2-0) have had an impressionable win too defeating Boise State 36-6 in the season-opener. Now, the Huskies have been resting since the game against Boise allowing for their young talent to get prepared for the fast Illini offense behind the fine play of Nathan Scheelhaase.

The Fighting Illini brought in former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit to revamp the offense, and the results were favorable in victories over Southern Illinois and Cincinnati. Illinois is averaging 43.5 points and 493 yards and has posted 17 plays of 20-plus yards after having just 34 last season. The Huskies will have All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (69 receptions, 850 yards in 2012) back on the field after he was suspended for the Boise State game due to an offseason DUI charge.

The Huskies come in to Soldier Field trying to prove their season-opening thrashing of Boise State wasn’t a fluke and Illinois looks to start 3-0 for only the second time in 12 seasons when the teams met today. The Huskies shot into the national rankings after their convincing 38-6 win in their opener but went 3-10 away from Seattle over the previous two seasons. Illinois is playing at Soldier Field for only the second time.

EXTRAS

ABOUT WASHINGTON (1-0): Senior quarterback Keith Price passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State and is 115 yards away from overtaking Brock Huard (6,391 yards from 1996-98) for third place on the school’s all-time list. Junior tailback Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards (his fifth 100-yard performance in his last six games) in a strong opening-game salvo to follow up last year’s 1,439-yard season. Junior middle linebacker – and defensive leader – John Timu racked up 13 tackles in the opener while senior safety Sean Parker made an interception.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-0): Cubit’s effect on quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been stunning as the senior has six touchdown passes in two games to surpass last season’s output (four in 246 attempts). Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards in the opener against Southern Illinois and followed up with 312 in last Saturday’s 45-17 rout of favored Cincinnati. The defense, which has experienced issues while allowing an average of 431 yards, is led by senior outside linebacker Jonathan Brown (14 tackles against Cincinnati, 23 overall), sophomore middle linebacker Mason Monheim (2.5 tackles for loss among 18 stops) and junior strong safety Earnest Thomas III (16 tackles in two games).

1. Washington leads the all-time series 5-4. The programs last met in 1972, when the Huskies notched a 31-11 home victory.

2. Illinois’ lone previous contest at Soldier Field was a 10-9 victory over Washington State in 1994.

3. Sophomore WR Jaydon Mickens set career highs for receptions (nine) and yards (109) in Washington’s season opener.

statefarm1

Follow the action LIVE on your mobile device at http://www.athletics.illinois.edu/livestats/xlive.htm

Follow the action LIVE on your PC at http://www.fightingillini.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mfootbl.html?event=1236439&school=ill&sport=mfootbl&camefrom=&startschool=&

FUN NOTES for Fighting Illini

�The Fighting Illini (2-0) look to continue their hot start on Saturday when they head to the Windy City to host No. 19/23 Washington at Soldier Field for Chicago Homecoming (5 p.m. CT, BTN). A win would make Illinois 3-0 for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. The other was in 2011, when the Illini started the season 6-0.

�Following Saturday’s shellacking of Cincinnati, the Illini are receiving votes in both polls for the first time since Oct. 24, 2011. Illinois sits 34th in the AP poll (nine votes) and 39th in the coaches poll (three votes).

�Illinois faces its first top-25 opponent of the season on Saturday as Washington is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

�Scheelhaase has more passing touchdowns (six) in two games than 102 of the 123 FBS teams. He also has thrown for 728 yards, more than 116 of 123 FBS teams through week 2.

• Scheelhaase’s 728 yards are the most in Illinois’ first two games of a season since Jason Verduzco passed for 783 yards in the first two games of 1991. Scheelhaase also has six passing touchdowns, equaling the school record for most TD passes in the first two games of a season shared by Juice Williams (2008) and Kurt Kittner (2000).

• Senior LB and Butkus Award candiate Jonathan Brown leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in tackles (11.5 tpg). Brown had 14 stops against Cincinnati, a B1G single-game high this season.

• Washington leads the all-time series with the Illini by a 5-4 margin, but the teams haven’t met since 1972. The two programs are 2-2 in games played in Champaign, while Washington holds a 3-1 margin in Seattle. The Illini notched a 17-7 win in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Illinois will travel to Seattle in the third week of 2014 for a Sept. 13 tilt at Husky Stadium.

• This year is the 50th anniversary of Illinois’ 1964 Rose Bowl victory over the Huskies, an Illini squad that was led by Chicago-born Illini legends Dick Butkus and Jim Grabowski. Washington took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, but Illinois’ defense took over and the Illini managed touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for the 17-7 final score. Grabowski earned MVP honors, finishing with 125 yards and a touchdown.

#Illini defeated Washington in ’64 @rosebowlgame, 17-7. In the 50th anniversary @illinifootball hoping for repeat Sat, Sep 14 at @SoldierField. http://pic.twitter.com/otoTCpKtgA

So, can the Illini continue their winning ways at their northern home, Soldier Field Saturday night? Or will the Huskies speed in the pass rush be too much for Scheelhaase?

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We will see – kickoff is at at 5p LIVE from Chicago and Soldier Field.  Follow the action with us via Twitter, @ASNN365, as well as here on our blog.

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