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Diehl-Super Bowl.jpgTwo former Illini, offensive lineman David Diehl and punter Steve Weatherford, helped lead the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday night. Diehl, who was also part of the 2008 Giants Super Bowl team, won his second career championship while Weatherford earned his first-ever Super Bowl ring.
Weatherford-Super Bowl.jpgTwo former Illini, offensive lineman David Diehl and punter Steve Weatherford, earned a trip to the Super Bowl following the New York Giants' 20-17 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Diehl, who was part of the 2008 Super Bowl Champion Giants team, will make his second Super Bowl appearance while Weatherford, who held for the game-winning field goal on Sunday, will make his first-ever appearance in the game. The Giants will play the New England Patriots on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. CT on NBC.

Diehl.jpgA pair of former Illini on the New York Giants advanced to the NFC Conference Championship following a victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers during the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Offensive lineman David Diehl and punter Steve Weatherford will play the San Francisco 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. CT on FOX.

Thomas-Playoffs.jpgAll six former Illini who suited up for Wild Card Weekend helped their teams advance to the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Pierre Thomas put on a solid performance with over 100 yards of offense and a rushing touchdown, Neil Rackers nailed a 39-yard field goal and David Diehl helped pave the way for 172 rushing yards.

Thomas-Playoffs.jpgTake a look at how former Illini fared in the final week of the NFL season. Eight former Illinois football players have helped lead their teams to the playoffs and six will suit up for the postseason, including Pierre Thomas, Neil Rackers, David Diehl, Steve Weatherford, Martez Wilson and Nate Bussey. Rashard Mendenall and Kelvin Hayden will both miss the playoffs due to injuries. Check out the video links for highlights from NFL.com.

Illini in the NFL - Week 16

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Mendenhall-Score.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Rashard Mendenhall had a solid outing with a touchdown, 100-plus rushing yards and a career-long catch while both Pierre Thomas and Arrelious Benn recorded scores to highlight Week 16. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Dec. 12-18). To close out the 2011 fall semester, the Illinois volleyball team wrapped up the best season in school history with a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament. The Illini bested USC in a thrilling five-set match during the National Semifinal before coming up short against UCLA in the National Final. The wrestling team topped UT-Chattanooga in its first home match while the women's basketball team fell to Texas Tech at the United Center before splitting its games in Las Vegas.



Illini in the NFL - Week 15

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Davis-INT.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Vontae Davis picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice and Pierre Thomas scored his sixth TD of the season to highlight Week 15. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Dec. 5-11). The volleyball team reached the Final Four for the first time since 1988 after getting past Ohio State in the Sweet 16 and Florida during the Regional Final in Gainesville. The No. 3 Illini will play No. 7 USC in the National Semifinal on Thursday night at 8 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas. The women's basketball team won its second game in a row, defeating Illinois State 66-56.



Illini in the NFL - Week 14

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Rackers Winning Kick.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Neil Rackers sealed the Texans' comeback win with an extra point with two seconds remaining to highlight Week 14. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Nov. 28-Dec. 4). The volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row after sweeping past Central Michigan and Marquette. The women's basketball team snapped a four-game skid with a road victory at Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge while the wrestling team fell 20-13 at No. 1 Iowa.



Mendenhall-Bengals.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Rashard Mendenhall is up to eight touchdowns on the year after two more TD runs while a couple Illini wide receivers made nice catches to highlight Week 13. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

DeForest NCAA 100_3679.JPGFormer Illini Chris DeForest will look to earn his PGA Tour card over the next six days, as he is competing in the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying school from Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at PGA West in LaQuinta, Calif.  The 172 total qualifiers at the final stage will play six rounds at the Nicklaus Tournament Course & TPC Stadium Course, and the Top 25 will get their PGA Tour card. Follow the action by checking out the Q-School Leaderboard and the @illinigolf Twitter account.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Nov. 21-27). It was a light week for Illini Olympic sports over the Thanksgiving holiday with only volleyball and women's basketball in action. The volleyball team, who swept Northwestern and downed Iowa on Senior Night, tied for second in the Big Ten for the third year in a row and earned the No. 3 overall national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The women's basketball team competed at the San Juan Shootout and fell to Green Bay and Arizona State in Puerto Rico.

Illini in the NFL - Week 12

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Davis.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Brandon Lloyd scored a TD for the third week in a row, Vontae Davis nabbed his second interception of the season and Pierre Thomas had a touchdown and over 100 yards of offense to highlight Week 12. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Illini in the NFL - Week 11

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Lloyd-30-TD.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Brandon Lloyd found the end zone on a 30-yard TD catch and Arrelious Benn caught five passes to highlight Week 11. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Nov. 14-20). The soccer team ended its run in the NCAA Tournament after dropping a 1-0 contest to No. 4 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The volleyball team split its weekend in Michigan, falling 3-1 to Michigan State before rebounding with a 3-1 win over No. 23 Michigan. The women's basketball team beat Memphis at home but fell to Oregon and Cal on the road. Jim Riddle and Jordan Hebert competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to close out the season while the wrestling team picked up a pair of wins over Lehigh and Clarion.



Senior Luke Guthrie will head to the 2011 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic along with over two dozen of the nation's top collegiate golfers to play at the El Paso Country Club from Nov. 20-22. Guthrie is one of seven of the top 11 amateur golfers in the world traveling to the event, according to the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings - Texas' Jordan Spieth, Washington's Chris Williams, Texas A&M's Jordan Russell, Arkansas Sebastian Cappelen, Stanford's Andrew Yun and San Diego State's J.J. Spaun. Check out what Guthrie had to say before heading to the event and find the tournament schedule below:



Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Nov. 7-13). The soccer team topped Notre Dame, 1-0, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and advanced to play Oklahoma State. The volleyball team won a pair of matches over top-25 opponents in No. 9 Penn State and No. 22 Ohio State. The women's basketball team opened its season by splitting a pair of contests while swimming and diving won its fourth meet in a row. Men's cross country advanced two individuals to the NCAA Championships while the women's team wrapped up the year at the NCAA Midwest Regional. The wrestling team also went 4-0 over the weekend.

Illini in the NFL - Week 10

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Mendenhall-2.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Rashard Mendenhall found the end zone twice, Brandon Lloyd caught his second TD as a Ram and Vontae Davis had his first interception of the year. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 31-Nov. 6). The soccer team won its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2003 after tallying three victories over Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State. The volleyball team fell at Purdue in a midweek match but bounced back with a win over Indiana. Dennis Nevolo highlighted men's tennis action with a runner-up finish at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships while the women's tennis team competed at Purdue. The swimming and diving team picked up three wins on the road, the women's golf team wrapped up its fall season with a second-place showing and the wrestling team kicked off its season.



Pieters-Spirit-Medal.jpg
Sophomore Thomas Pieters earned an individual gold medal at The Spirit International Amateur Championship after carding 13 birdies at the tournament. Pieters represented his home country of Belgium at the event in Houston and tied for the top spot in the men's individual competition with the most birdies over the four rounds at Whispering Pines Golf Club. He was one of six individuals to roll in 13 birdies along with Kelly Kraft and Nathan Smith from the United States, Carlos Ortiz of Mexico, Mackenzie Hughes from Canada and South Africa's Ruan de Smidt.

Illini in the NFL - Week 9

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Hayden.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. A pair of past Illini, Pierre Thomas and Rashard Mendenhall, scored touchdowns, Kelvin Hayden picked off Curtis Painter and Neil Rackers was perfect on three field goals. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Sophomore Thomas Pieters will represent his home country of Belgium at The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship in Houston, Texas, from Nov. 2-5 at the Whispering Pines Golf Club. The event, which was established in 2001, is a world class amateur golf event featuring 20 countries from six continents. Each country is represented by their two best men and two best women players. Pieters, the 2011 Belgian National Stroke Play Champion, will play with Thomas Detry, the 2011 Belgian National Match Play Champion, at the tournament, which can be followed through a live webcast. Check out what Pieters had to say before heading to the event along with other tournament information below:



Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 24-30). The soccer team ended the regular season by winning its eighth-consecutive game and will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The volleyball team split a pair of matches, topping Wisconsin in the "Dig Pink" match before falling to Minnesota at home. Members of the men's gymnastics team helped the U.S. squad earn the bronze at the Pan American games while individuals from the men's tennis team competed at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The cross country teams hosted the Big Ten Championships at the UI Arboretum while the swimming and diving team had its first road meet of the year.

Illini in the NFL - Week 8

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Lloyd-TD.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Five past Illini squared off in the Rams-Saints game, which included touchdowns by Brandon Lloyd and Pierre Thomas. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 17-23). The soccer team picked up a pair of victories to extend its win streak to seven games and secure a runner-up finish in the conference. The volleyball team swept Northwestern before suffering its first defeat of the season with a four-set loss at Nebraska. The cross country teams, who competed at the Illini Open last week, are gearing up to host the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Oct. 30. Both tennis squads continued fall action, the women's golf team earned a top-three finish at the Hoosier Invitational and the swimming and diving kicked off the season at home.



Illini in the NFL - Week 7

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Moore.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Pierre Thomas gained over 100 yards in a blowout of the Colts, Brandon Lloyd made his debut for the Rams and Brandon Moore started his 112th consecutive game, the longest active streak for a guard in the league. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 10-16). The No. 1 volleyball team continued its undefeated season with a midweek win over No. 20 Michigan and a five-set victory over Michigan State on Saturday night. The soccer team jumped into second place in the Big Ten following a pair of 1-0 wins over Minnesota and Wisconsin. The men's golf team wrapped up its fall season with a third-place finish at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational and a third Big Ten Golfer of the Week accolade. Both cross country teams competed at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the men's tennis squad played at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional. The women's golf team is currently playing in the final round of the Hoosier Fall Invitational while the swimming and diving team will kick off the season with Splash Bash.



Illini in the NFL - Week 6

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Mendenhall.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Rashard Mendenhall had his best game of the year thus far with a touchdown and over 100 yards rushing, Arrelious Benn turned in a career-long TD catch and Brandon Lloyd was traded to the St. Louis Rams. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 3-9). The No. 1 volleyball team remained perfect with a pair of Big Ten road wins, sweeping Ohio State and edging Penn State in five sets to end its 68-match Big Ten home winning streak. The soccer team won its third match in a row with a double-overtime victory at Michigan State. Both tennis teams were in action with fall competition while the men's and women's golf teams are currently in action at fall tournaments.



Illini in the NFL - Week 5

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thomas_center_panthers_touc.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Pierre Thomas caught the game-winning TD pass, his first of the season, for the Saints, Brandon Lloyd made a highlight reel catch and a handful Illini were off with the first bye week of the season. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Sept. 26-Oct. 2). The No.1 volleyball team is the only undefeated team left in the nation after beating Indiana and undefeated Purdue at Huff Hall, and the soccer team bounced back with a pair of wins over both Indiana and Purdue as well. The men's golf team won its first tournament of the fall in dominating fashion at Illinois State while the Illini women's golf team finished fifth at its event in Kentucky. The women's cross country team was in action at a meet in Chicago, and both the women's tennis and softball teams continued their fall schedules.



Lloyd.JPGEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Brandon Lloyd turned in his best receiving game of the year, Rashard Mendenhall scored his second TD of the season and Neil Rackers remained perfect with his 10th field goal to highlight week four. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Sept. 19-25). Following a pair of road wins at #9 Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Illinois volleyball team moved up to the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Top-25 poll for the first time in school history. The Illinois soccer team dropped a pair of contests to Big Ten foes while men's tennis and softball also continued their fall seasons over the weekend.

Illini in the NFL - Week 3

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alanball.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Neil Rackers was a perfect 4-of-4 on field goals, Martez Wilson made his first career start for the Saints, and Alan Ball had four tackles in a Monday Night victory. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Illini in the NFL - Week 2

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Benn.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. Two Illini (Arrelious Benn and Rashard Mendenhall) found the end zone while two others (Kelvin Hayden and Alan Ball) had interceptions in victories for their team. Read up on how the rest of the past Illini played and check out the links for video highlights.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Sept. 12-18). The Illinois volleyball team won the Big Ten/Big East Challenge at Huff Hall, as they topped Cincinnati and Louisville to remain undefeated at 11-0 entering Big Ten play. The soccer team tied 2-2 with Iowa while both men's and women's cross country squads placed second at the Orange and Blue Preview. The women's golf team broke the school record and tied for second at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic, and the men's golf team tied for eighth in a loaded 15-team field at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. Both men's and women's tennis teams also kicked off their fall seasons while softball was rained out.



Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Sept. 5-11). The Illini volleyball team remained unbeaten and won its third-consecutive tournament at the MTSU Invitational. The Illini soccer team split its weekend series at the LSU Invitational, dropping a match to No. 13 Pepperdine, 4-2, before drubbing Oregon, 5-0. The women's cross country team won the Bradley Open while both golf squads opened their fall seasons. The softball team also began its fall slate with a victory over Kankakee.



Illini in the NFL - Week 1

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Rackers.jpgEach week the Illini in the NFL Update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weekend. In all, 19 Illini made active 53-man rosters for the opening weekend. That does not count rookie Lions' RB Mikel Leshoure, who is on IR for the season with an Achilles injury, or the three former Illini that were named to practice squads (Nate Bussey, J Leman and Eddie McGee).



Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Aug. 29-Sept. 4). Over the weekend, the Illini volleyball team won the State Farm Illini Classic and improved to 6-0 overall with victories over Tennessee, Houston and Dayton. The men's cross country squad won its seventh consecutive Illini Challenge while the women's team took third at the meet. The soccer team split a pair of contests, falling to USC on Friday and defeating Colorado on Sunday.

Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Aug. 22-28). Over the weekend, the #19 soccer team improved to 4-0 overall with a 5-0 victory over Ball State and a thrilling 2-1 overtime win against Louisville. The #8 volleyball team topped BYU, Saint Mary's and UC Santa Barbara in Provo, Utah, to win the BYU Nike Invitational.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released preseason regional rankings for the NCAA Division I 2011 season on Monday. The Illinois men's cross country squad was ranked fourth in the Midwest Region. The Illini, who placed fifth at the 2010 Midwest Regional, checked in only behind Minnesota (3rd), Oklahoma (2nd) and Oklahoma State (1st). The Orange and Blue will kick off the fall season with the Illini Challenge at the UI Arboretum on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Rank School Location Conference
2010 FINAL
1 Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla. Big 12
2
2 Oklahoma Norman, Okla. Big 12
1
3 Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. Big Ten
3
4 Illinois Champaign, Ill. Big Ten
5
5 Tulsa Tulsa, Okla. Conference USA
6
6 Iowa State Ames, Iowa Big 12
4
7 Iowa Iowa City, Iowa Big Ten
7
8 South Dakota State Brookings, S.D. Summit League
8
9 Southern Illinois Carbondale, Ill. Missouri Valley
9
10 Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. Big Ten
10
11 Kansas Lawrence, Kan. Big 12
11
12 Drake Des Moines, Iowa Missouri Valley
17
13 Illinois Chicago Chicago, Ill. Horizon
12
14 North Dakota State Fargo, N.D. Summit League
13
15 Loyola-Chicago Chicago, Ill. Horizon
14

Gala-Reception_8188.jpgThe 10th Annual Steve Stricker Illini Golf Classic kicked off the festivities with the Welcoming Gala Reception and Auction on Sunday night at the Olympia Fields Country Club. The event included a live and silent auction benefitting the Illinois men's golf program and four special guests highlighted the evening: PGA professional and Illini alum Steve Stricker, head coach Mike Small, new Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas and ESPN color commentator and former Flyin' Illini member Stephen Bardo, who served as the emcee. Be sure to check out the full PHOTO GALLERY from the event.

Tyler Griffey: The Tours

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Griffey-Leonard-Italy.JPGIllinois junior forward has been gracious enough to blog periodically during Illinois' trip to Italy. In the second installment, Griffey recaps the first days of sight-seeing in Rome, Vatican City and Florence along with providing us a cliche photo of Meyers Leonard from Pisa.