Penalties, turnovers hurt Illini against Penn State

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Penalties, turnovers hurt Illini against Penn State

CHAMPAIGN Illinois asked fans to stripe the stadium for Saturdays game against Penn State. The visual effect in Memorial Stadium was wiped out by the fourth quarter, as the sight of empty seats overtook any resemblance of striping.

It is hard to blame Illinois fans for heading to the exit after the Illinis dispiriting loss to the Nittany Lions, 35-7, however.

After the game the Illini had no excuses for their poor play, which included two turnovers and 69 yards of penalties.

That we are disappointed is the least you could say about this game, Illinois coach Tim Beckman said. Its to step up, to see what this football team is all about and move forward. Weve got to.

Illinois debuted a new look on Saturday, showing off the teams matte blue helmet, which was not supposed to be worn until 2013. If moving up the helmets debut was an attempt to change the look of the team, though, the Illinois defense did not get the memo.

Things looked good for the defense early after a quick three-and-out, but a muffed punt gave Penn State the ball back deep in Illini territory. Another good stop was canceled by a running into the kicker penalty.

With a second chance at the endzone, Zack Zwinak made Illinois pay, scoring on a one-yard run at 10:41 in the first quarter, putting PSU up 7-0 early on.

The Illinois defense continued to struggle on PSUs second drive. Another mental error on the first play of the drive, a targeting the head penalty, moved the Nittany Lions into Illinois territory. From there quarterback Matt McGloin exploited holes in the Illinois secondary with ease.

He moved his team down to first and goal from the one-yard line and, two plays later, punched it in himself. With the PAT, Penn State went in front 14-0 with less than six minutes elapsed in the game.

The Illinois offense finally found its legs on the third drive of the game. Donovonn Young found space around the left on first down and marched 52 yards downfield, setting the Illini up at the Penn State 11 yard line. Illinois tried to keep the momentum going, but found no space to run and were forced to go for a field goal.

Taylor Zalewski had been nearly automatic since replacing Nick Immekus, but he was left holding his head in his hands as his 26-yard field goal went wide of the mark late in the first quarter.

Despite the missed field goal, the Illinois offense continued to improve in the second quarter. On their first drive of the period, Scheelhaase stepped up and completed to passes for first downs and then ran the ball for the first time in the game, picking up seven yards. The drive would be stamped out, however, when Penn State came up with a stop on fourth down at their own 28.

Four times on Saturday Illinois went inside the PSU 30-yard line and failed to convert. The problem was troubling for Beckman.

Penn State did a great job of coming here and playing physical football, but when you get the ball inside the 30, in the redzone, thats the key to the game. We have to come up with points, with touchdowns, he said.

Penn State capitalized on Illinois failure to convert well, and three minutes after taking possession, McGloin found Matt Lehman over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown reception.

Scheelhaase led his team down to the four-yard line of PSU on the next drive, but once again could not finish the drive.

On fourth and goal he threw the ball directly into PSU linebacker Michael Mautis hands on the goalline. The big man hustled 99 yards before being brought down by Miles Osei with one second remaining in the first half. Penn State lined up for a field goal, but had it blocked by VAngelo Bentley, bringing the first half to a wild end, the Nittany Lions leading the hosts 21-0.

On the first drive of the second half Scheelhaase took a hard hit, high and low, and limped off the field. He would return after one play but would not have a first down in him.

The punt by Justin DuVernois was a beauty, trapping PSU at their own one. From there the Illinois defense showed a flash of its 2011 greatness, allowing just two yards of offense for the Nittany Lions and forcing a punt.

With starting position in the PSU half, Scheelhaase shrugged off any questions about his ankle and quickly got Illinois on the scoreboard.

On second down he found Josh Ferguson over the middle for a 22-yard reception. Then he passed to Ferguson in the backfield on first down and the running back picked out a wide-open Spencer Harris for a 22-yard touchdown over the right side.

With the touchdown, Illinois cut their deficit to just two touchdowns, 21-7 with 10:22 to go in the third quarter.

The Illinois defense came up with another big stop on the ensuing Penn State drive, this time forcing a turnover on downs by sacking McGloin on fourth and five from the Illinois 16. Their hard work went for naught, though, as the Illinois offense went three-and-out on the ensuing possession.

McGloin would not be stopped as easily on the next Penn State drive. He went 3 for 3 on the drive and finished with another one-yard touchdown run, putting PSU ahead 28-7 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

A second pick of Scheelhaase by Mauti late in the third quarter sealed the fate of the Illini. On the PSU drive, Zwinak scored his second touchdown of the game from a yard out, bringing the score to its final 35-7 tally.

After the game, Beckman was more introspective about his team. He acknowledged that having a number of players injured certainly hurt, but he cast blame for the loss on himself and vowed to work to get the team better.

We cant turn the football over, weve got to move the football better, and weve got to tackle and do the things we feel are necessary for us to be successful, he said. Were just not getting those done the last two weeks.

Ahead of the Illinis trip to Wisconsin next Saturday, Beckman targeted physicality as an area that needed immediate improvement.

We know were going to be playing some physical football teams here coming up, and weve just got to become a more physical football team and do what we need to do, he said.

Injuries have played a big part in his teams lack of imposing physical stature, however, and he acknowledged that fact as well. Thats kind of a double-edged sword right now getting more physical and staying healthy, but thats one of the things were going to have to address.

Watch: Huskers' Tim Miles flies with Blue Angels, almost vomits

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Watch: Huskers' Tim Miles flies with Blue Angels, almost vomits

Well, it's going to be pretty difficult for college basketball to top this line this offseason.

"It's all dry heave, I can't puke."

Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles took a ride with the Blue Angels, a very cool and surely very frightening experience, and the fine folks with the Huskers were good enough to post a video of Miles' flight.

While watching the coach experience the take off and the rolls is very cool, there's perhaps no more entertaining moment than when he reaches for the barf bag.

Check it out:

Miles is without a doubt the Big Ten's funniest coach. No wonder he produced this kind of moment.

Great flight, coach!

Former Illini wideout Aaron Moorehead center of college football Twitter controversy

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Former Illini wideout Aaron Moorehead center of college football Twitter controversy

A former Illinois wide receiver has landed himself at the center of college football's latest offseason recruiting controversy.

Aaron Moorehead, who caught 85 passes with the Illini from 1999 to 2002 and won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, is currently the wide receivers coach at Texas A&M. And it's his Twitter account that's getting the attention Thursday after he sent out a string of tweets in the wake of the Class of 2017's No. 1 quarterback recruit decommiting from the Aggies on Wednesday night.

Well, all that tweeting didn't sit so well with some other Texas A&M recruits, one of which decommitted directly because of what Moorehead tweeted.

Moorehead tweeted out an apology Thursday.

A tough day for Texas A&M and a really bad day for the former Illini wideout.

Jerry Reinsdorf to be next featured guest on "Inside Look"

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Jerry Reinsdorf to be next featured guest on "Inside Look"

“Inside Look presented by Cadillac,” hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Chuck Garfien, featuring Jerry Reinsdorf to debut Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 PM CT

CSNChicago.com to provide additional web-exclusive coverage of ‘Inside Look,’ including extended video clips

Chicago, IL (May 5, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, continues to delve into the lives of some of the biggest names in Chicago sports with its candid, monthly, one-on-one interview series Inside Look presented by Cadillac

Debuting Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 PM CT, Comcast SportsNet’s Chuck Garfien hosts an exclusive one-on-one interview with Chicago Bulls & White Sox Chairman/Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 2016 inductee JERRY REINSDORF.  Since Reinsdorf’s purchase of the Chicago Bulls in 1985, the Bulls won six world championships and became one of the most iconic teams in the history of sports. In addition, Reinsdorf has done extensive charitable work to benefit the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District and was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for leading the philanthropic outreach of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls Charities.

In this edition of “Inside Look,” Reinsdorf discusses his life in pro basketball which includes candid discussion about the honor of entering the Hall, his fondest Bulls moments, along with his thoughts on those individuals who he considers being the key factors in his NBA success story, including Michael Jordan and former Bulls GM Jerry Krause. 

In addition, viewers are urged to check out Comcast SportsNet’s website, CSNChicago.com, for additional interview content never before seen on TV.  Fans will also be able to watch every Inside Look guest interview online after it debuts on Comcast SportsNet.  Comcast SportsNet will also re-air Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf on the following dates/times: Fri , May 13 at 9:30 PM (on CSN+HD) - Sat, May 14 at 8:30 PM (on CSN+HD) - Sun, May 15 at NOON - Wed, May 18 at 12:30 PM - Thu, May 19 at 4:00 PM - Fri, May 20 at 1:00 PM (on CSN+HD) - Sat, May 21 at 2:30 PM (on CSN+HD) - Tue, May 24 at 4:00 PM - Thu, May 26 at 1:00 PM - Fri, May 27 at 5:00 PM & Sat, May 31 at 5:30 PM (on CSN+HD). (Schedule subject to change).

Note the following quotes from Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf presented by Cadillac premiering Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 PM on Comcast SportsNet:

Reinsdorf on entering the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

“I don’t look at it as my entering.  I think I am the representative of a lot of people.  I am really the front guy.  I pick people and put them in their jobs and, if I do my job right and if they do their job right, I get a lot of credit…and if they don’t, I get ripped.”

Reinsdorf on Michael Jordan:

“No one knew what was coming.  I didn’t know what was coming.  No one knew what Michael Jordan was going to be.  I think if they had known what Michael Jordan was going to turn out to be, I don’t think they would not have sold the team.”

Reinsdorf on Jerry Krause:

“Jerry Krause was the genius that put this organization together.  He had Michael…he doesn’t get credit for drafting Michael, but you have to put the right pieces around him.  The single biggest move he made was trading Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright.  I don’t think we win the first couple championships without Bill Cartwright.  Jerry Krause certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame for what he did.  In fact, I would not be going into the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for Jerry Krause.”

Reinsdorf on who he will be thinking about during his Hall of Fame speech:

“I will be thinking about Jerry Krause and (former Bulls Executive VP-Business Operations) Steve Schanwald and Michael and Scottie (Pippen) and Phil (Jackson) and the fans of Chicago. You have to remember the fans of Chicago supported us when we were bad.  During the period after Michael left, we weren’t in the playoffs for seven years or so and we led the team in attendance, not every year, but the aggregate.  So, I will be thinking about the fans of Chicago and how happy the Bulls make them.”