Issuu on Google+

Touchdown TIMES A publication of The Daily Illini | Friday, November 2, 2012

Can they buck this losing streak?


Friday, November 2, 2012

OSU crush — Health obviously played a factor in Meyer’s departure from Florida, but the fact that he’d leave that environment, where he was absolutely revered, speaks volumes of his love of Ohio State football.

Vulnerable? — His team’s

biggest scares this season have come in conference play. The Buckeyes have survived one-possession matchups against Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue.

Master motivator —

Inspiring a bowl-sanctioned team has to be difficult. Having them ranked in the top 10 nationally has to be near impossible. Meyer has done both with ease this season.

EYE ON THE ENEMY: Ohio State head coach

BY ZACH GROTH STAFF WRITER

Urban Meyer

The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

2

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer wins. The only thing more impressive than his 113-23 overall NCAA record is his 7-1 bowl record, coaching Florida to BCS national championships in 2006 and 2008. Now he has his bowl-ineligible Buckeyes off to a 9-0 start.

Run, run, run — The Buckeyes

are loaded with backs, and Meyer has no problem running the ball down teams throats. The team has 409 carries combined this season at a clip of 5.5 yards per carry.

GENE J. PUSKAR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, left, celebrates with Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller at the end of a 35-23 win over Penn State in State College, Pa., on Saturday. Meyer has coached the bowlineligible No. 6 Buckeyes to a 9-0 start, and they face the Illini in Saturday’s game.

We’re Serious About Illini Sports! Predictions, Recaps, Player & Coach Interviews

MONDAYS at 6:00 PM stream at WPGU.com


The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

3

Friday, November 2, 2012

Undefeated Buckeyes present ‘great challenge’ BY SEAN HAMMOND STAFF WRITER

If Tim Beckman wants to sleep easier at night, he may have to wait another week. The Illinois head football coach recently said he has lost 22 pounds since this tumultuous 2012 season began, but it doesn’t get any easier this week as the Illini head to Columbus, Ohio, to play the No. 6-ranked Buckeyes. The only team Illinois (2-6, 0-4 Big Ten) has played who is remotely close to the caliber of Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) was Michigan, and the Wolverines spanked the Illini 45-0. Under first-year head coach Urban Meyer, this Buckeyes squad has elevated itself to the top of the Big Ten after a disappointing 6-7 finish in 2011. “It’s a great challenge for us,” defensive tackle Akeem Spence said. “I’m not going to say it’s not. They’re undefeated, so we’re going to have to go out there and play our best game, as a defense and as a team.” The defense will be the key for the Illini. With quarterback Braxton Miller making the calls, the Buckeyes offense ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring. The unit has broken the 30-point mark in all but two of its games and has scored more than 50 three times. As good as they are, the Buckeyes are not unbeatable. They needed overtime to outlast Purdue at Ohio Stadium and narrowly avoided upsets in games at Michigan State and Indiana. “We have to set the tone early with them,”

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said. “Not let them feel good about what they’re doing, what’s going on. They’re just consistent. It seems like every year you play them, they make tackles in the open field and they don’t blow coverages or get out of position.” Illinois has not fared well against Ohio State since upsetting the then-No. 1-ranked Buckeyes on the road in 2007. The Illini have lost four straight in the series (although the 2010 Ohio State victory was vacated) and seven of the last eight. Oddly enough, Illinois’ last four wins over Ohio State came in Columbus. In last year’s meeting at Memorial Stadium, the Buckeyes outlasted the undefeated Illini 17-7 despite completing only one pass. Miller struggled in that game, but this is not the same Illinois defense that was ranked seventh nationally last year, or, for that matter, the same Braxton Miller. “Last year, he was kind of young,” linebacker Jonathan Brown said of Miller. “Another year of experience helps out a lot. He definitely can pass the ball a little bit better than he could last year. He’s making smart decisions.” Beckman coached under Meyer for two years at Bowling Green in the early 2000s, and the two remain friends. However, Saturday will be their first matchup against each other as head coaches. Illinois will have to play its best game of the season if it wants to bring the Illibuck, one of the

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

Illinois’ Jonathan Brown tackles Indiana’s Stephen Houston at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Brown and the Illinois defense will have their hands full with Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes. more lopsided rivalry trophy games in college football, back to Champaign. But doing so would be an upset of even more staggering proportions than the one Juice

Williams and the 2007 team pulled off.

Sean can be reached at sphammo2@ dailyillini.com and @sean_hammond.


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

6

PLAYERS TO WATCH MASON

MONHEIM After emerging on the scene early in the season, the freshman linebacker has 52 tackles and one sack this year. Returning to his home state to face one of the nation’s best teams offers a little extra motivation.

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

BRAXTON

MILLER The second-year quarterback is thriving under the tutelage of head coach Urban Meyer. He has thrown for 1,527 yards and run for 1,093 yards and scored a combined 24 touchdowns. Despite getting injured against Purdue two weeks ago, Miller gained 277 total yards and three touchdowns in his team’s victory over Penn State last week.

SAM RICHE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHRIS DUNN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

7

SEAN HAMMOND

SPORTS WRITER

JAMAL COLLIER

CHAD THORNBURG

SPORTS WRITER

MAX TANE

SPORTS WRITER

JEFF KIRSHMAN

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR/ HOST OF ILLINI DRIVE

SPORTS EDITOR

OUR PICKS Tane (30-17) Illinois at No. 6 Ohio State

No. 16 Texas A&M at No. 17 Mississippi

No. 21 Nebraska at Michigan State

Share

45-10

Hammond (33-14)

56-0

DAN WELIN

FOOTBALL COLUMNIST

Thoughts

PORTRAIT BY DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

Collier (28-19)

Kirshman (34-13)

Thornburg (25-22)

Welin (31-16)

42-0

42-3

48-0

63-0

s r e t Let

with

to the Editor

34-28

35-16

38-33

30-17

27-24

28-17

20-16

24-13

17-13

21-14

34-23

31-17

EMAIL

Texas at No. 20 Texas Tech 42-34

31-28

35-24

42-31

38-21

42-30

42-31

35-23

42-27

56-35

No. 2 Oregon at No. 18 USC 55-31

Oklahoma State at No. 3 Kansas State

YOUR

45-28

49-27

20-17

41-28

38-24

34-17

56-38

23-9

17-9

24-10

20-7

21-14

35-3

No. 1 Alabama at No. 5 LSU

opinions@dailyillini.com


Friday, November 2, 2012

Bailey could provide Beckman with building block

Illini Drive

THREE AND OUT

DAN WELIN Football columnist

Illini Drive goes “three and out� every Monday on WPGU. Here are the highlights.

In

NATIONAL QUESTION — Of the top four teams that are undefeated in the BCS ... if they go undefeated, all four, which two would you take in the national title?

a season that continues to get worse as each week passes, a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to face No. 6 Ohio State isn’t going to offer any hope to Illini fans that, for some reason, feel a four-game winning streak to end the season is even remotely possible. Even though his team is ineligible for the postseason, Urban Meyer has found a way to keep it motivated, and, more importantly, has molded his prize inheritance — quarterback Braxton Miller — from a freakishly talented athlete into a polished passer and runner that is receiving dark-horse Heisman Trophy consideration as a sophomore. Use last season’s Ohio State victory over Illinois at Memorial Stadium as proof of his maturation. Miller threw only four passes for 17 yards and ran 12 times for just 34. This season, he’s found the end zone 24 times while averaging 170 passing yards and 121 rushing yards per game. The Isiah Williams era came and went with a Rose Bowl appearance and a plethora of individual accolades for the Illini quarterback more commonly known as Juice.

Thomas Bruch — If all four of those teams go undefeated, Notre Dame’s strength of schedule has to put them in the national championship. It’d be them and Alabama. ... This is BCS Armageddon, especially with Notre Dame involved finally.

BIG TEN QUESTION — The lone Big Ten team ranked in the BCS poll is Nebraska. So is Nebraska the new favorite of the week? Max Tane — Yeah, they’re the favorite. But here’s a red flag, you’re going to Michigan State next weekend, (a team) that just beat Wisconsin in Camp Randall in overtime. I really don’t know what to expect with this conference.

ILLINI QUESTION — Over/under: 3.5 total Braxton Miller touchdowns.

Jamal Collier — For Braxton, I’ll go with four. Four is a good number. Someone will get touchdowns, right? ... They’ll probably have a pick-six, they’ll probably have a punt return touchdown, they’ll have different touchdowns. They won’t get them all from Braxton. They’ll share the wealth. Illini Drive can be reached at illinidrive@dailyillini.com and on Twitter @IlliniDrive.

A

SERVING THE URBANA-CHAMPAIGN COMMUNITY SINCE 1986

Hours:

For reservations:

Mon - Thurs: 4:30 - 9pm Fri: 4:30 - 10pm Sat: 4pm - 10pm 202 W. Anthony Drive Champaign, IL Sun: 4pm - 9pm

Your #1 Shop for all your Illini Spirit Gear

t t t t

ILLINI FLAGS FACE PAINT WIGS POMPS

The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

8

t t t t

BEADS HAIR SPRAY BALLOONS PARTY GOODS

Now Accepting I-Cards

+PJOVTPOGBDFCPPLDPN%BMMBTBOE$P Hours: Mon-Thurs 10-6 Fri 10-7 Sat 10-6 t&6OJWFSTJUZ"WF $IBNQBJHO *-

Having a talented quarterback is an obvious must at any level of football, but a certain verbal commitment from an in-state high school quarterback will put Beckman’s rebuilding plan over the top. A verbal promise is about as credible as a politician’s guarantee during an election, but Bolingbrook High School quarterback Aaron Bailey is still on board with the Illini, even with their struggles this season. His signature come signing day will be the biggest Illinois has had since former head coach Ron Zook somehow persuaded current NFL wide receiver Arrelious Benn to come to Champaign. Scouts say Bailey is a more polished Juice. The hope that his interest in Illinois is profound. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and the rest of the offense are beyond repair at this point. The unit’s current holes used to be filled by talented players — Mikel Leshoure, A.J. Jenkins, Jack Cornell and Jeff Allen to name a few. Seeing the offense’s woes this year as a result of a lack of talent and experience, mainly at wide receiver and offensive line, make it seem like Scheelhaase never had success in his first two seasons as starter. And while he does seem to have a run-first instinct, Scheelhaase still is running for his life more than he should. Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Many thought it would, given the talent on the defensive side of the ball, but the pieces are just not falling into place. Maybe some coordinators will come and go during the offseason, but Beckman and his philosophy will be here for the next couple of years. Every coach would love to start his fi rst season 9-0 with a new team like Meyer has, especially someone that shares his ideologies and knows how to do it. But change is coming to Champaign, and that starts with Bailey making his commitment official and signing on the dotted line Feb. 6. All Beckman needs is to get one domino to fall and then the rest will follow suit. Urban Meyer is already making an impact with the talented roster he inherited and will continue to improve in recruiting. Beckman may never achieve BCS bowl status at Illinois, but he needs his guys to start developing a winning culture. So when you see Miller carving up the Illinois defense Saturday, think of what Aaron Bailey can do for the Illini in the future.

Dan is a senior in Media. He can be reached at welin1@dailyillini.com. Follow him on Twitter @ WELINandDEALIN.


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

4

The Daily Illini | www.DailyIllini.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

5

ALL IN THE FAMILY

T

“The Big Ten is next to professional football,”

had done for him, stressed the importance of phys-

it’s your last and let the cards fall where they may.”

he Karrases are a Big Ten said Ted Sr., 77. “That’s the big organization. You ical fitness when raising his son. Teddy said he was All the Karras men who played in the Big Ten get a lot from it when you go and play and get your doing 100 pushups in sets of 10 at age 3, already with played on the lines, and in terms of the Xs and Os college football on his mind. of the game, Tony believes the older generations college degree.” family. Through three Although Teddy was born after all of the other six “My dad would come home and if I didn’t get my can offer timeless advice to Teddy. Karras men’s football careers had come to an end, pushups in as a football player, he’d get mad at me “These kids are a lot bigger, stronger, faster than generations, the Karras Ann Karras, Ted Sr.’s wife and Teddy’s grandmother, and tell me someone else was going to take my schol- when we played, but it’s still the same thing,” he said. said he still has that same Karras look on the field. arship,” Teddy said. “It just helped me develop. It’s “You’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to play until family has produced seven Big “I might be just in their genes, but they were just what my dad had me do, it’s what his dad had him the whistle blows and pay attention.” good at what they did,” Ann said. “They all have that do. It seems to be working.” Ten football players, and the latintensity and they’re very competitive.” Consequences of the game est in the lineage is Illinois’ Teddy Rough patch On Oct. 10, the Karras men lost one of their own. Growing up Big Ten Teddy’s first season in the starting lineup hasn’t Alex Karras, arguably the most accomplished in Karras. The seven Karras men not only shared a conference, but they’re also all lineman. Alex, Tony and Ted Jr. all played defensive line, Teddy’s grandfather and three of his great-uncles while Paul, Lou and Teddy are offensive linemen. started the tradition more than half a century ago. Ted. Sr. played both at Indiana. His father and uncle maintained it in the ’80s, and “We come from a bigger family, I guess,” Ted Jr. now the spotlight is on Teddy, a redshirt freshman said, laughing. starting at right guard for the Illinois football team. He added that their size and ability is likely part “I’ve wanted to play in the Big Ten genetics but also part upbringing. my whole life,” he said. “I love it. It’s The Karrases were raised around the a very fickle business. You win, you’re game, and while they weren’t presin; you lose, you lose. I’ve learned sured to play football, they were cera lot about life from the game of tainly trained as athletes from an football.” early age. Teddy worked for a football scholThey always had football on their arship from an early age, but it wasn’t minds, and Ted Sr. had Ted Jr. and a certainty that he would play football Tony jumping rope and running on in college, let alone join his family in the soft, white sand along Lake Michithe Big Ten. His father, Ted Jr., said gan by preschool. it wasn’t until Teddy’s junior year at “You’re not always thinking about Cathedral High School in Indianapothe training aspects when your dad lis, where he won two state titles and says go run two miles on the sand earned two all-state honors, that he or when he puts a jump rope in your grew into the player he is today. hand and tells you go to three min“He really started dominating,” utes, but it’s in you,” Tony said. “It’s TEDDY KARRAS, Ted Jr. said. your lifestyle, really. It’s your way redshirt freshman, offensive guard Teddy received over a dozen scholof life.” arship offers and considered schools Still, the Karras men insist there such as UCLA and Oregon in addition to Big Ten was no pressure from family members to play footschools: Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern and Illinois. ball, though there was certainly pressure from themTradition ultimately won out, and he committed to selves. Seeing the history and the success of the previous generations was motivation enough. Ron Zook at Illinois. “It was just kind of a given: Males in our fam“It was a dream come true,” Teddy said. “I was thinking as a kid, I didn’t know what I would do if I ily play college football,” Teddy said. “It’s just didn’t get a D-I scholarship. I was obsessed with it.” what I thought you do in my family.” Maybe more so than any of the other Karras athlete, Teddy grew up with the Family tradition game. His father coached at St. XaviThe Karrases are proud of their Big Ten history. er University, Rose-Hulman and When Tony Karras was being recruited out of Marian University, where he Hobart High School in Indiana, he scheduled vis- is still the head coach. Teddy its at Ball State and Northern Illinois, but when his was around as much as he father, Ted Karras Sr., found out, the plans changed. could be, sitting in the Ted Sr., who played four years at Indiana and won front row for meeta championship in 1963 with the Chicago Bears, can- ings and watching celed the visits, explaining: “The MAC was created practice. for those who can’t play in the Big Ten. You’re a Big “ E a rly on Ten guy from a Big Ten family.” Tony went on to he was very join his brother, Ted Jr., at Northwestern. aggressive — “I remember like it was yesterday,” Tony said. you could tell “I apologize to all my MAC friends, but we’re Big he was going to be someTen elitists.” The first generation of Karras men grew up in thing,” Tony Gary, Ind., at a time when recruiting hadn’t yet said. developed into a national spectacle. The Big Ten T e d d y was the premier conference in their eyes. didn’t play Ted Sr. played at Indiana, his younger brothers o r g a n i z e d Alex and Paul played at Iowa, and his older broth- football until er Lou played at Purdue. Ted Sr.’s sons Ted Jr. and third grade, Tony played at Northwestern in the ’80s, and Ted but his father, like his father Jr.’s son Teddy is currently at Illinois. BY CHAD THORNBURG STAFF WRITER

“I’ve wanted to play in the Big Ten my whole life. I love it. It’s a very fickle business.”

gone quite as planned. The Illini are 2-6 coming off a loss to one of the Big Ten’s worst teams in Indiana and are heading into a road matchup with unbeaten Ohio State. But if Teddy learned anything from the many Karras men who have come before him, it’s that things don’t always go your way in football. “There’s been great seasons and there’s been terrible seasons,” Teddy said. “You win and you lose. We’ve got to get it right. I go to work every day to try to get better.” And while Illinois’ right guard often opts to keep things to himself, he isn’t lacking for support through tough times on the field. “Having played at Northwestern in the ’80s, I can definitely relate to a losing streak,” Tony said. “Every down counts, every down matters, every play is an opportunity. And you have to play every play like

the family, both for his on-field talent and his offfield career as an actor, passed away. Alex suffered from dementia for several years

before his death and was among 3,500 ex-NFL players engaged in a lawsuit with the league regarding a connection between concussions and brain injuries. Alex’s brother Ted Sr., has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for nearly seven years, and while the disease runs in the family, Ted Sr.’s wife, Ann, said his doctor believes there is likely a connection to his football career. “I played nine years in the National Football League and my brain doesn’t function really good as far as memory goes,” Ted Sr. said in a phone interview. “But that’s my fault, I guess.” Despite seeing the consequences a long football career can have later in life, Teddy said he doesn’t worry about the effect playing football can have on him down the road. “It’s part of the game,” Teddy said. “You get a little window to do what I can do. I’m on bor-

rowed time. I’m 19, the average player plays until he’s about 23, really, and then if you get any time in the NFL, so I’m going to go as hard as I can and not worry about it.” Teddy said he is fortunate to have never been diagnosed with a concussion and noted that the improved modern helmets are a luxury his grandfather and great-uncles didn’t have while they were playing. “I could sit here and worry about it, but that would make me less of a player if I worried about it because, as an o-lineman especially, you use your head every single play,” Teddy said. “I think I was put on earth to play this sport and I want to play it.”

Next in line Teddy is the seventh Karras man to play in the Big Ten, but the Karras pipeline might not end with him. Tony’s son Luke Karras is shaping up to be an athlete already at age 4. “He might be the biggest out of all of us,” Teddy said. Luke is playing soccer because football isn’t offered at his age yet, but even on the soccer field, his football potential is evident. “He’s running his soccer player friends over and making them cry because he’s so solid,” Tony said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but he definitely could be next because he’s fast and can take over a soccer game at his young age.” Tony jokingly added that he’s thinking about getting Luke ready to start jumping rope and do pushups, but in the Karras family, it’s never too early to start working for a Big Ten scholarship. Chad can be reached at thornbu2@ dailyillini.com @cthornburg10.

KARRAS FAMILY TREE

TED “TEDDY” KARRAS offensive guard and redshirt freshman at Illinois

GREAT-UNCLE ALEX KARRAS defensive tackle at Iowa from 1954-58

GREAT-UNCLE PAUL KARRAS offensive guard at Iowa from 1957-58

GREAT-UNCLE LOU KARRAS offensive tackle at Purdue from 1946-1950

GRANDFATHER TED KARRAS SR. defensive tackle and offensive guard at Indiana from 1952-56

UNCLE TONY KARRAS defensive tackle at Northwestern from 1984-88

FATHER TED KARRAS JR.

DARYL QUITALIG THE DAILY ILLINI

Illinois' Ted Karras (69) defends Indiana's Larry Black, Jr. (97) during Illinois’ 31-17 loss at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

defensive tackle at Northwestern from 1983-87


Touchdown Times: Nov. 2, 2012