Update: 5:26 pm, 10/2/14, Thursday ILLINOIS -- Friday there will be a hearing in Chicago discussing sports.
TUSCOLA, Ill. - Tuscola coach Rick Reinhart usually doesn't take time to reflect on his teams wins. But last Friday's victory over Central A&M was different. After the final whistle blew and dozens of his former players congratulated him on his 200th career win -- the reality of becoming one of less than 75 coaches in Illinois history to accomplish the feat finally set in. "That did kind of make me sit back and say, 'Wow, that's a long time,'" he said. "And also just something that every kid I've ever coached, that's ours, not mine. It was special, it really was."
DALLAS, Tex. - John Groce received some more tough recruiting news Wednesday as five-star point guard Jawun Evans (Kimball H.S., Dallas, Tex.) verbally committed to Oklahoma State, choosing the Cowboys over the Fighting Illini. Evans is ranked among the Top 35 players in the country in the 2015 class. Illinois was considered the leader for the Dallas native earlier this summer, but Oklahoma State made a strong push toward the end.
VOLLEYBALL Bloomington def. Centennial 25-21, 15-25, 25-15 Central def. Urbana 25-14, 25-10 STM def. SJO 25-21, 25-21
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Wes Lunt has declared himself ready to go this weekend vs. Purdue. Head coach Tim Beckman told reporters early Tuesday on a conference call that Lunt has been practicing as if he were 100% healthy; Lunt echoed that Tuesday night, and it looks like Illinois is moving forward with the hope that Lunt will be back under center against the Boilermakers.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) - The Fighting Illini baseball team will have an exciting opportunity to take a foreign tour trip to the Dominican Republic in November. The trip runs from Nov. 22-29 during the University of Illinois' Thanksgiving break week and includes games against multiple Dominican Summer League (DSL) teams. NCAA regulations allow teams to make foreign trips once every four years and this will be Illinois' first one taken in the modern era. "We are really excited about the opportunity to take our players to the Dominican Republic," head coach Dan Hartleb said. "I have been able to travel to the Dominican over the past two summers, and it has been interesting to see the work ethic and desire for the game of baseball in their culture. From a baseball standpoint, we are going to be playing some of the best players in the world at that age level. Each organization in Major League Baseball has a Dominican complex, so it will give us the chance to play eight games. All of our players will be able to play during the week, and it will help our development as we prepare for the 2015 season."
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said Monday he expects quarterback Wes Lunt to be healthy enough to start Saturday against Purdue. "He will be out there practicing today. Like we said, he was not one hundred percent. I don't think you take a quarterback and allow them to blitz like they did and play a quarterback that's not totally healthy," said Illinois Head Coach Tim Beckman about the decision to sit him against Nebraska.
Illinois sophomore quarterback Aaron Bailey will likely redshirt this season. He hasn't played a snap yet this year and Reilly O'Toole played the entire game against Nebraska. "We're not kidding anyone, Aaron's got a redshirt. We're going to play whoever is capable of winning the football game for us, but we're not going to play Aaron in a football game just to play him in a football game", said Illinois Head Coach Tim Beckman.
Vote for the top high school play of the week.
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt sat out Injured as the Illini fell to Nebraska 45-14.
Highlights from the SJO Cross Country Spartan Classic.
All the best moments from Week 5 of Friday Football Fever - in 90 seconds.
Highlights and scores from Week 5 of Friday Football Fever.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former St. Thomas More girls basketball coach Chris Mennig was hired Wednesday as an assistant coach for the Lawrenceville High School girls basketball program. Mennig parted ways with the school in April while under a financial investigation by the FBI and IRS.
VOLLEYBALL Central def. Normal West 25-22, 25-23 St. Thomas More def. Unity 25-22, 25-9
COLES COUNTY - Charleston's season-opening kickoff was an unfortunate sign of things to come for the Trojans. Senior running back Myles Decker, the team's best player, dislocated his kneecap making a tackle - tearing his ACL and MCL. Injuries and inexperience have plagued Charleston (1-3) this season. Longtime head coach Brian Halsey is starting six sophomores, including quarterback Ridge Boyer, who played a freshman last year. It was the only time Halsey has started a freshman quarterback in his 15 years with the Trojans.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We'll find out later Thursday whether wide receiver Geronimo Allison will be cleared to play in Illinois' Big Ten opener at Nebraska Saturday night. Allison missed last week's game against Texas State with an injury, but he did participate with limited contact in practice this week. Of the guys that helped pick up the slack in Allison's absence Saturday was true freshman Mike Dudek, who got the start alongside fellow true freshman Malik Turner. Dudek caught seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown against Texas State. Dudek ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 19 catches this season.
LA PORTE, Ind. - When John Groce got the job two and a half years ago, Jalen Coleman-Lands was one of his top prospects. The 4-star combo guard is the second rated recruit in Indiana and is regarded as one of the best scorers in the 2015 class. He picked Illinois over UNLV and his home state Hoosiers. When he suits up next year at State Farm Center, he'll be the first player from Indiana to play at Illinois in 30 years. "I don't really care too much about what everyone else has to say," Coleman-Lands said of the pressure to stay in his home state. "Personally I felt like it was the right decision for me."
The Okaw Valley Conference is prepared to stay with only five teams when Maroa-Forsyth leaves the conference starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
VOLLEYBALL Central def. Peoria Notre Dame 25-16, 25-10 Centennial def. Richwoods 25-21, 25-23
LA PORTE, Ind. - John Groce landed a verbal commitment Tuesday from one of the top available players in the Class of 2015, and it took some rare recruiting success in the state of Indiana to get him. Four-star combo guard Jalen Coleman, who is an Indianapolis native, announced Tuesday afternoon he will play for Illinois. "The reason I chose the University of Illinois is because they offer everything I was looking for in a school: academics, in particular the business program; the basketball system and level of competition in the Big 10; and the quality of Coach Groce and his staff," Coleman said in a statement.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Emmanuel Komba has been playing soccer as long as he can remember. "I grew up and I would just play with my friends and stuff. Pick-up games in the neighborhood and other stuff," said Komba. But he's only played the last few years in the U.S. He moved here from Africa in 8th grade - seeking a better education.
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.