Freshmen Dylan Meyer was co-medalist in his first tournament with the Illini as he makes the most of his immediate playing time.
The Illinois defense got good news Monday. They'll need it as they prepare for a tough Nebraska team with the second leading rusher in the nation. Illini star defender Earnest Thomas has been cleared to play the entire game against Nebraska this Saturday. He was ejected from the Texas State game in the second quarter for targeting. That foul typically comes with a one game ejection (the second half of the Texas State game and first half of the Nebraska game), but the Big Ten will allow him to play after a misapplication of the rule.
Friday Football Fever plays of the week nominees for week four.
illiniboard.com's Robert Rosenthal joins Matt Wettersten to talk Illini football.
The Illinois football team moves to 3-1 Saturday after defeating Texas State 42-35. Illinois had to come from behind to win and also sit through a 1:56 weather delay in the second quarter. Josh Ferguson rushed for a career high 190 yards. He had three total touchdowns as well. Illinois plays at Nebraska next week to open Big Ten play.
Friday Football Fever in 90 seconds from week four.
High School football scores and highlights.
MONTICELLO -- The Sages take on the Unity Rockets in this week's spotlight game.
VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Urbana 25-17, 25-17 PND def. Danville 25-23, 11-25, 25-19 St. Thomas More def. Watseka 22-25, 25-18, 25-18
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) - On Thursday afternoon at the Illinois Soccer Stadium, No. 22 Illinois earned its fifth shutout of the season, blanking Indiana 2-0 behind a set-piece goal in each half by senior Jannelle Flaws. Sophomore Claire Wheatleystopped a key penalty kick and collected her third solo shutout with help from the Illini back line that limited the Hoosiers to four shots. Illinois, which took 20 shots, held its opponent to single-digit shots for the sixth straight game, tying its school-record streak from 2005. "Every shutout we get feels good," head coach Janet Rayfieldsaid. "We wanted to make it a better defensive season compared to last year, and five shutouts shows we have really made a difference. Jannelle took advantage of both her opportunities on set pieces and Claire made a big save on a penalty kick that didn't allow Indiana to get back in it."
MONTICELLO, Ill. - When Monticello's Clay Becker gets to a game Friday night, he's there to play. He rarely ever sits. In fact, he had to think long and hard about the only time he's on the bench "Sit? Kick-off," Becker said. "Yeah that's pretty much it." He wouldn't have it any other way. He's been a standout for the Sages this season. On defense, he recorded 25 tackles in a game earlier this year. He's also scored four offensive touchdowns through three contests this year.
PAXTON, Ill. - The PBL Panthers are staying in the Sangamon Valley Conference. The PBL school board voted 5-2 Wednesday night to reject an invitation from the Okaw Valley Conference, meaning the Panthers will stay put in the SVC. Okaw leaders had hoped to entice PBL to become the league's sixth member when Maroa-Forsyth leaves for the Sangamo in 2016. PBL received the invitation in early August and after less than two months of deliberation, they've chosen to stay put.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Early season bragging rights will be on the line between Central and Centennial Friday night, but this game will mean a lot more than that to both schools. Central and Centennial are each undefeated, 3-0, heading into Friday's showdown. The Maroons are trying to start 4-0 for the first time in more than a decade. Centennial, meanwhile, is trying to keep its season on track after losing quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald for the season with a torn ACL. Both teams have struggled the last few years, but this weekend one of them will be 4-0 and in prime position to qualify for the playoffs.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois football team isn't panicking after suffering their first loss of the season Saturday at Washington. In fact the Orange and Blue are keeping things positive as they look to pick up win No. 3 this weekend. Illinois ran into a buzz saw in Seattle, and some early mistakes were the difference. All things considered, they still feel like they sit in a pretty good position. "The first three games are done," said head coach Tim Beckman. "We're 2-and-1. I mean a lot of teams aren't 2-and-1, and we are. So we're happy to say that, yeah, we can make definite strides in everything we gotta do, but we've got 2 W's and we've got 1 L. So we're heading, at least moving in that direction we want to go."
SOCCER Urbana 1 Centennial 1 (F) VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. Manual 25-11, 25-14 Central def. Peoria H.S. 25-4, 25-8
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois football team is dead last in the Big Ten in rushing offense through the first three games of the season. In fact the Orange and Blue are getting less than 20% of their offense on the ground. That's one of the worst in the country. Early on the emphasis hasn't exactly been on running the ball. Only two Big Ten teams have run less often, but the success hasn't been there. The Illini are averaging a little better than 70 yards per game on the ground, and it's not just a running back problem.
TOLONO, Ill. - A sign outside the Unity football field says it all. A new beginning. The Rockets have a different look and feel on offense this season. They're passing the ball almost as much as they're running it. It's a new approach for head coach Scott Hamilton, whose run-first philosophy has won him nearly 200 games the last two decades.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt has been one of the best in the Big Ten so far this year, but he will be the first to admit Saturday's game at Washington wasn't one of his best. Lunt threw an interception that got run back for a touchdown, and then later he had the ball stripped away, and it was run back for a Washington score - a couple mistakes in what has been an otherwise outstanding start to Lunt's season. He was proud of the way his team responded in Seattle after he says he put his team in a tough spot.
URBANA -- A local sports program could be in jeopardy if it can't get the funding it needs.
Ryan Allen is giving the SJO Spartans a big lift this season after moving back to the area from Florida.
One of the area's top high school basketball players may be ineligible to play his senior season. Christian Williams transferred back to St. Teresa Monday. He transferred to Lanphier High School in Springfield to start the school year. "I have attended Decatur Catholic Schools with my friends since 4th grade. I want to attend St. Teresa High School whether or not I'm able to play basketball. My goal has always been to graduate from St. Teresa", Williams said. IHSA rules may prohibit him from playing after transferring back from a public school to a private one.
Friday Football Fever play of the week nominees:
Bulldog Invitational ORDER OF FINISH 1. Champaign Central (5-0) 2. Tri-Valley (4-1) 3. Mahomet-Seymour (4-1) 4. Pleasant Plains (3-2) 5. Olympia (4-1) 6. St. Joseph-Ogden (3-2) 7. Lexington (3-2) 8. Manteno (2-3) 9. Charleston (3-2) 10. Effingham St. Anthony (2-3) 11. Williamsville (2-3) 12. Urbana (1-4) 13. Oakwood (2-3) 14. Springfield Southeast (1-4) 15. Rantoul (1-4) 16. Mahomet-Seymour JV (0-5) ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Emma Atkinson, Champaign Central Cortney Bohn, Mahomet-Seymour Shelbie Butcher, Pleasant Plains Alexis Gilbert, Manteno Kylie Michael, St. Joseph-Ogden Mason Moore, Mahomet-Seymour Sara Rathbun, Olympia Summer Sabbo, Pleasant Plains Melissa Swartz, Lexington Taylor Tedrick, Tri-Valley Dana Westfield, Champaign Central Lauren Wombles, Tri-Valley
The #1 ranked St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans moved to 3-0 with a 34-20 win over Monmouth-Roseville.
Washington took a 35-3 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back. The Huskies defeated Illinois 44-19. Illinois hosts Texas State next week.
Friday Football Fever in 90 seconds for week 3 (9/12/14)
Highlights and scores from week 3 of Friday Football Fever.
If the last few weeks are an indication of what's to come, Illinois is in for a high-scoring game when they visit Washington Saturday afternoon.
When Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman isn't coaching the Illini, you'll most likely find him cheering on his son, Alex, Urbana's starting quarterback.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois basketball team got some bad news Thursday. Head coach John Groce announced starting point guard Tracy Abrams tore his right ACL during a preseason skill workout and will miss the entire upcoming season. Abrams will redshirt this season, and then have one year left to play. It's a big loss, though, for this year's team. Abrams was Illinois' second-leading scorer last year, averaging nearly 11 points per game. He led the team in assists and was second in minutes and steals.
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. - For the third time in the last year John Groce and the Illinois basketball team are the bridesmaids. Illinois' top prospect, Stevenson point guard Jalen Brunson, chose to return to his family's roots picking Philadelphia's Villanova over Champaign and the Illini. Brunson's decision comes just ten months after Quentin Snider decommitted from the Orange and Blue in favor of Louisville. That same day, Curie big man Cliff Alexander chose Kansas over Illinois in what will forever be remembered as the hat fake. Brunson left out the drama Wednesday. He simply unzipped his sweatshirt revealing a Villanova shirt - and hat.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (PC Release) - The #1 ranked Parkland Cobras volleyball team finally got a chance to play at home tonight after 14 matches on the road facing conference and region opponent Lewis & Clark CC.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As Central prepares for Urbana this week, one of the players the Maroons will be leaning on is defensive standout Brandon Klein. He plays both ways for Central but really shines as a linebacker. He has actually torn both of his labrums and a rotator cuff, but he has fought through it. Klein even had 21 tackles in a game earlier this season. He is a two-time state wrestling qualifier as well and leans on that experience on the football field.
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. - Stevenson point guard Jalen Brunson became the latest elite in-state recruit to spurn the Illini as the five-star talent announced Wednesday he will play college basketball at Villanova. Brunson is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 15 overall recruit in the Class of 2015. He took official visits to both Illinois and Villanova before pledging to join the Wildcats Wednesday. Brunson joins a short list of elite Illinois talents, who chose to go out of state for college hoops. Head coach John Groce will set his sights now on Dallas, Tex. point guard Jawun Evans, who took an official visit to Illinois last week.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Centennial football team received some bad news on Wednesday as senior quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald announced he tore his ACL in Saturday's win over Marion. Fitzgerald, who has verbally committed to play at Illinois, will miss the rest of the season.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We told you last week Central's Jake Snider has ended his recruitment early and decided to play baseball at the University of Louisville. As it turns out, the chance to play for his father was just too good to pass up. Snider's father Eric was just hired as an assistant at Louisville this past summer. Jake told WCIA 3 how much of a role that played in committing before he'd even begun his junior season.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One thing was missing from Justin Hardee's career performance Saturday - his mother. She passed away in December after a long fight with lung disease. "That was my best friend," Hardee said. "She really didn't know how football went, but she only watched it because of me. That was very special to me."
Villa grove-Heritage defeated Argenta-Oreana 8-6 Monday night. They had to resume the game after it was postponed Friday night at halftime because of the weather.
Mahomet-Seymour senior post Christian Romine has committed to play basketball at UTEP. He's 6'10" and had offer from Indiana State, Ball State, Tulane, Depaul, FIU, Western Kentucky, St. Francis (PA), Illinois State and Bradley.
Friday Football Fever play of the week nominees.
Robert Rosenthal from illiniboard.com talks about the Illinois win against Western Kentucky and has a prediction for next week.
High School Football scores and highlights
Wes Lunt's record-setting day guided the Illini over Western Kentucky 42-34. WCIA 3's Aaron Bennett has more from Memorial Stadium.
SCORES Central 41 Dunlap 14 Danville 19 Lemont 43 Meridian 23 Bunker Hill 22 GCMS 27 Tremont 6 Tri-County 33 Decatur LSA 3
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois defensive tackle Austin Teitsma put together the best individual performance on his Illinois career Saturday against Youngstown State, and he's hoping it's just the start of a huge senior season. Teitsma had a career-high nine tackles and two-and-a-half tackles for loss in Saturday's win, but he and the defense will be put to a different kind of test this week against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers ran 96 plays from scrimmage - and they play fast meaning Teitsma and his guys on the defensive line will be pushed to the limit.
VOLLEYBALL Centennial def. U-High 25-21, 25-22 Central def. Mahomet-Seymour 22-25, 25-22, 25-15
BISMARCK, Ill. - Mo Abbed doesn't have to look far for motivation. His brother Murad is his idol and coach. "He is my biggest role model to this day," Abbed said. "I always looked up to him." Mo grew up watching his brother play for the Blue Devils. Now six years later Murad is doing the same thing. "It's weird to see it come full circle as far as being a player, and now I'm coaching these players," Murad said. "But it is a good feeling."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Central infielder Jake Snider announced Wednesday night he has verbally committed to play baseball at Louisville. Snider is a back-to-back all-conference selection after hitting better than .400 each of the last two seasons. Last year Snider his .440 for the Maroons with 19 doubles and 22 stolen bases. His father Eric was just hired this summer as an assistant coach for Louisville after spending the previous 16 seasons on Dan Hartleb's staff at Illinois.
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Could we see a revival of the Illinois-Missouri football series down the road? Missouri athletic director Mike Alden isn't shutting the door on that possibility. Alden told reporters Wednesday he is "all ears" when it comes to entertaining the idea of playing a neutral site football game, possibly against Illinois in St. Louis. The earliest that could happen would be 2019, but Alden says there hasn't been any in-depth discussion yet on renewing that series.
PAXTON, Ill. - You won't find many players who go harder and are more passionate about football than PBL's Tyson Snyder. "I love football," he said. "I've been playing since third grade." And he's been playing with a birth defect that left him with two fingers on his right hand, and a right arm that is several inches shorter than his left. "[My arm] is a little bit longer than it was," he said. "Two surgeries have gotten it about five or six inches to make it about as close to even as they can make it."