Game 3: #24/RV Illinois (1-1) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1)

Sophomore linebacker Martez Wilson has tallied 20 tackles in his first two games as a starter.
Sophomore linebacker Martez Wilson has tallied 20 tackles in his first two games as a starter.

Sept. 8, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format



  • Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns and the University of Illinois.
  • The Illini have only one player on the roster from the state of Louisiana, starting left guard Eric Block. The senior hails from New Orleans, La.
  • Illinois head coach Ron Zook and UL-Lafayette head coach Rickey Bustle were on the same staff at Virginia Tech in 1987 when Zook was a defensive coordinator and Bustle coached quarterbacks and receivers under Frank Beamer. Zook left for Ohio State after the one season, but Bustle stayed with Tech until 1993, left for a brief time in 1994, and then returned for another six seasons in 1995.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette passing game coordinator Jorge Munoz will be making his second trip to Memorial Stadium on Saturday. He served as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois from 2006-07 and was with the staff when the Panthers played Illinois in 2006.


  • Junior quarterback Juice Williams needs 37 total yards to pass Johnny Johnson and move into fifth place on the Illinois career total offensive yardage list.
  • Williams needs 27 rushing yards to move into the top-20 of the the Illini career rushing list.
  • Williams already holds the career record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,515 in his first three seasons.
  • Senior defensive end Will Davis needs 1.5 sacks to move to ninth on the career quarterback sacks list.


It will be a big day on the University of Illinois campus on Saturday. In addition to the football game, Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini basketball team will be hosting "A Night of Legends" at Assembly Hall at 7 p.m. Several former Illini greats, including recent Olympic Gold Medalist Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Brian Cook, Frank Williams, Kiwane Garris and many more, are scheduled to attend and participate in an alumni game. In addition to the game, Illinois is honoring the most decorated basketball players in school history by hanging jerseys from the rafters of the Assembly Hall. The 20 men's jerseys will be unveiled for the first time at this event. Tickets are still available online at or through the UI Athletic Ticket Office (1-866-ILLINI-1) for $15.


The 2008 edition of the Ron Zook TV Show has seen a complete overhaul. Not only will it be seen on a brand-new network, WICD/WICS, but will sport a format unlike any other coaches' show. The Ron Zook Show will feature that latest and best in graphics and creative video. Each week, Zook and the show's host Brian Barnhart will discuss the previous week's game, issues in college football and the current Illini team in a Sportscenter-like format. The show will begin with a recap of the game and end with a quick-hitting music video. This year's show is sponsored by Dish Network.


  • The Big Ten Network original series Illinois Football: The Journey airs each Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. CT/9:30 PM ET. The second show of the season, which airs Sept. 9, shows Illinois in its season opener against Missouri in St. Louis, while also following Juice Williams home after his football day has ended.
  • New episodes will air at 8:30 p.m. CT/9:30 p.m. ET every Tuesday during the football season, with the previous week's show preceding the new episode. Viewers can follow The Journey online with a producer's diary, bonus video clips, photos, archived segments and a five-minute video preview of the season premiere by visiting


Eight Illini football players have been named to preseason watch lists for national awards:

  • Vontae Davis - Thorpe, Nagurski, Bednarik: Davis has 10 tackles, three pass break-ups and a QB hurry in two games this season. Last year, he was the only sophomore on the the semifinal list for the Jim Thorpe Award. He recorded four interceptions and eight additional passes defended last season, which ranked sixth in the Big Ten in both categories. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2007 and earlier this year was named to the Playboy All-America team.
  • Arrelious Benn - Biletnikoff, Maxwell, Walter Camp: Benn has had seven catches in each of the first two games this season and six carries for 43 yards (7.2 ypc) and two touchdowns on the ground. He has also returned five kicks for 85 yards and one punt for 22 yards. Last season, he earned freshman All-America honors and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He broke Illinois' freshman receiving and receptions record, which were previously held by Brandon Lloyd and Ty Douthard, respectively. Also returned kicks in 2007 and has added punt returning to his repitoire this year.
  • Juice Williams - Davey O'Brien: Williams has done it with his arm and legs thus far in 2008. After throwing for a career-best 451 yards and 5 TDs vs. Missouri in the opener, Williams ran all over Eastern Illinois last week, racking up 174 yards on 16 carres (10.9 ypc) and two TDs on the ground. He also tossed another TD against EIU and is now 42-for-67 (62.7 percent) for 575 yards with 6 passing TDs on the season. Williams led the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl his sophomore year after improving his passing accuracy from 39 to 57 percent in one season and leading an offense that posted the best total offensive numbers in school history with 5,500 yards. He is currently 21st on the Illinois all-time rushing list with over 1,500 yards.
  • Will Davis - Hendricks, Lombardi: Davis had five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble Saturday against Eastern Illinois. He is now 10th on the Illinois career sacks list with 12.5 He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2007 after leading the team in tackles for loss with 12.5 and sacks with 9.5.
  • Ryan McDonald - Rimington: McDonald is in his fourth year as a starter on the offensive line. He helped pave the way Illinois' 399 rushing yards in Saturday's victory over Eastern Illinois. The Illini offense has piled up over 500 yards in each of the first two games this season. Last season, he started every game for an offensive line that posted the best rushing and total offensive numbers in school history and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. The line also set a school mark for fewest sacks allowed in a year with 1.23 per game. In his two years as starting center for the Illini, the offense has led the Big Ten in rushing.
  • Xavier Fulton - Lombardi: Fulton is in his second year as a starter on the offensive line. He helped pave the way Illinios' 399 rushing yards in Saturday's victory over Eastern Illinois. The Illini offense has piled up over 500 yards in each of the first two games this season. In 2007, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in his first year on the offensive line. He played a team-high 997 offensive snaps last year and led the team with 109 knockdowns. He also was instrumental in protecting QB Juice Williams and allowing only 1.23 sacks per game.
  • Martez Wilson - Butkus: Wilson followed up his big game in the opener against Missouri (11 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, one PBU) with a nine tackle, 1.0 TFL, one PBU?game against EIU. For the season he is second on the team and in the Big Ten in tackles with 20 and leads the team in TFL with 3.5. Prior to the season, Wilson was added to the Butkus Watch List before even starting a game at Illinois. His athleticism has earned him the nickname of "Freak 2" and he runs a 4.4 40. He played in all 13 games last year and recorded 29 tackles, three for loss.
  • Brit Miller - Lott: Miller had a monster game against Eastern Illinois with a team-high 11 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, one forced fumble and an interception. He leads the Big Ten in tackles with 23 on the season. It is Miller's first season as a middle linebacker after starting at OLB for the past three seasons, a move geared toward maximizing his experience, stability in play calling and leadership on the defense. His nomination for the Ronnie Lott award combines athletic excellence with off the field character. Miller is a staple in the Champaign and Decatur communities, volunteering an average of four hours per week with elementary and middle schools, military veterans and children's hospitals.


Illinois remains in the top-25 for the third straight week this year with its win over Eastern Illinois. Below are the rankings for the 2008 season.

  • Preseason 20 (AP) / 19 (USA Today/Coaches)
  • Week 1 24 (AP) / 25 (USA Today/Coaches)
  • Week 2 24 (AP) / RV (USA Today/Coaches)
The Illini are ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, marking their fifth straight week in the rankings, which is the most since the 2001 squad finished the final five weeks of its season in the top-25. Here is a list of the Illinois records for consecutive weeks ranked in the top-25:
  1. 24 - Sept. 4, 1989-Jan. 1, 1991
  2. 9 - Oct. 6, 1951-Jan. 1, 1952
  3. 8 - Oct. 8, 1983-Jan. 1, 1984
  4. 7 - Oct. 17, 1953-Sept. 25, 1954
  5. 6 - Oct. 19-Nov. 28, 1963
  6. 5 - Nov. 17, 2007-present
    5 - Nov. 3, 2001-Jan. 1, 2002
    5 - Sept. 2-Sept. 30, 2000
    5 - Oct. 19-Nov. 28, 1963
    5 - Oct. 17-Nov. 14, 1942


The Big Ten boasts nine career 1,000 yard rushers. Illinois quarterback Juice Williams ranks sixth among active players and is tops among the two quarterbacks in the rankings. Indiana's Kellen Lewis is the only other signal-caller on the list.

  1. Tyrell Sutton, RB, Sr., Northwestern -- 3,206 yards
  2. P.J. Hill, RB, Jr., Wisconsin -- 3,072 yards
  3. Javon Ringer, RB, Sr., Michigan State -- 2,977 yards
  4. Beanie Wells, RB, Jr., Ohio State -- 2,296 yards
  5. Kory Sheets, RB, Sr., Purdue -- 2,291 yards
  6. Juice Williams, QB, Jr., Illinois -- 1,515 yards
  7. Kellen Lewis, QB, Jr., Indiana -- 1,362 yards
  8. Jaycen Taylor, RB, Sr., Purdue -- 1,237 yards
  9. Marcus Thigpen, RB, Sr., Indiana -- 1,008 yards


With his outstanding performance against Missouri, Juice Williams broke two Illinois season opening records -- Passing Yards: 451 by Juice Williams vs. Northwestern, 9/1/84; Touchdowns Passing: 5 by Juice Williams vs. Missouri, 8/30/08.


Illinois senior center Ryan McDonald has started 38 consecutive games during his four-year career. That number is among the best in the nation, ranking as the fourth-longest active streak. He is tied for the 10th-longest starting streak in the nation. Below is the list of consecutive starts among Division I collegiate football players.

41 Cody Lubojasky, LB, Houston
Andrew Hartline, OL, Central Michigan
Andrew Gardner, OL, Georgia Tech
Kraig Urbik, OL, Purdue
40 Dallas Reynolds, OL, BYU
Pat Brown, OL, UCF
39 Kenneth Fontenette, S, Houston
Matt Kroul, DL, Iowa
Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
38 Ryan McDonald, OL, Illinois
Maurice Crum, LB, Notre Dame
Robbie Felix, OL, UTEP
Jervonte Jackson, DL, Florida Atlantic
Dan Gerberry, OL, Ball State


  • Junior quarterback Juice Williams made big strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons and has continued on that path through two games. Williams increased his completion percentage by nearly 18 percentage points (39.5 to 57.3) from 2006 to 2007. In two games of 2008, Williams has completed 62.7 percent.
  • Williams had a career day for the Illini in the season opener against MU, throwing for a career-high five TDs as well as a career-best 451 yards on a career-high 26 completions. His 451 passing yards rank third all-time at Illinois behind Dave Wilson's 621 yards (11/8/80) and Tony Eason's 479 (10/23/82). Williams now holds the Illinois records for passing yardage and TDs in a season opener. He out-passed Chase Daniel 451 yards to 323 and threw two more TDs than the Missouri senior. Williams' performance also marked the second-straight year that Illinois has thrown for more than 250 yards against the Tigers.
  • Williams became just the fourth quarterback in Illinois history to throw for five or more touchdowns in a game, joining Dave Wilson (6), Tom O'Connell (5) and Jeff George (5), with his five-touchdown performance against Missouri.
  • Williams accounted for 91.7 percent of Illinois' first downs vs. Missouri and 69.8 for the season. He has engineered 37-of-53 on the year, rushing for 12 and passing for 25.
  • In his last six games (dating back to the final four of 2007), Williams has averaged 231.1 yards passing per contest and has thrown 13 touchdowns, while also rushing for 84 yards per game and scoring five touchdowns with his feet.
  • There is no doubt that Williams has matured from his sophomore year. He is not only being looked on to be one of the main leaders on this Illinois team, but he also now has a daughter who looks up to him. LaChez will turn one on Sept. 3. While some college athletes become parents during their college years, Williams has taken parenting one step further. He and his high school girlfriend, Chez, have decided to continue their full-time student schedules at Illinois while raising LaChez. The trio lives together in Champaign year-round as one happy family.
  • Juice in the Illinois record books:
    • 21st - career rushing yards (1,515) - needs 26 for 20th
    • 6th - career total offense (5,322) - needs 36 for 5th
    • 8th - career passing yardage (3,807) - needs 1,382 for 7th
    • 9th - career pass completions (298) - needs 8 for 8th
    • 8th - career pass attempts (595) - needs 178 for 7th
    • 8th - career touchdowns (28) - needs 3 for 7th
    • 1st - career rushing yards by a quarterback (1,515) - already holds record
    • 1st - season rushing yards by a quarterback, 2007 (755) - already holds record
    • 2nd - season rushing yards by a quarterback, 2006 (576) - record was broken by 2007 numbers
    • 9th - season rushing yards by a quarterback, 2008 (184) - needs 30 yards for 8th


Five of Illinois' 2008 starters came to Illinois on a different path than the one they currently find themselves.

  • Wide receiver Chris Duvalt spent his first two seasons as an Illini at cornerback. He played a key role on special teams, but was spending too much time behind other players. This spring, he gave offense a try and the rest is history. He has immediately made an impact with three touchdown catches in the first two games. He is averaging 19 yards a catch and nearly 40 yards a game.
  • Junior Rahkeem Smith played a season as a linebacker before seeing a straight shot to a starting role at fullback.
  • Senior Will Davis came to Illinois as a 235-pound tight end, but quickly saw a chance at success on the defensive side of the ball with his addition of 40 pounds and a move to defensive end. In three seasons, he has totaled 18 tackles for loss, 12.5 quarterback sacks and 18 hurries.
  • One of the most immediately effective moves came before the 2007 season when former defensive end Xavier Fulton switched to offensive tackle and earned All-Big Ten honors that same season. In his only year as a starter, the offensive line set new school records for total offense and rushing yards. This season, the Illini are leading the conference in passing and total offense, and rank fourth in rushing offense.
  • Jeff Cumberland moved from tight end to receiver in the middle of last season. As a receiver in his final four games, he caught 11 passes for 221 yards, including 131 yards against Northwestern. He has not played in the first two contests this season, due to injury.


  • The amount of audio and video wire installed during the renovation is approximately 135 miles of cabling - the approximate distance from Champaign to Indianapolis.
  • There are 250 televisions through out the stadium (west, north, and east)
  • The west pavilion totals nearly 300,000 square feet, or 150 average family homes.
  • The new west pavilion exterior façade encompasses 20,000 square feet of new brick and 75,000 square feet of glass.
  • The interior of the west pavilion has nearly two football fields worth of carpet. This carpet is located on the upper floors of the facility.


Illinois defensive end Will Davis' family are natives of the Republic of Liberia. He has spent his entire life in the United States, and was able to visit Liberia as a young child before civil war broke out. Now that the war has ended, his mother, Pearine Davis-Parkinson, recently returned home to become the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of State office. The Ministry of State supports the work of the President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The major departments of the Ministry of State are the Office of the President, Administration, and Public Affairs and Communications Technology. Davis' mother played basketball for the Liberian national team and at the University of Liberia. His uncle, John Davis, played soccer for Liberia. She should be in town in the month of October to attend Illinois football games.


Sophomore receiver Arrelious Benn has started every game of his career, 15, at Illinois since he was a true-freshman in 2007. In addition to that, he has also caught at least one pass in each of those games. He leads a group of receivers that are improving each week with an average of 21.5 catches per game. Here is a list of the receivers and their current reception streaks (2 or more games):

  • Arrelious Benn: 15 games (every game of his career)
  • Chris Duvalt: 2 games (moved to receiver in 2008)
  • Will Judson: 2 games (first-year starter)
  • Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 games (tight end)
  • Daniel Dufrene: 2 games (running back)
  • Jeff Cumberland: 2 games (In 2007, has not played this season)


    • Juice Williams was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 for his performance against Missouri in the season opener. He exploded for career highs of 451 passing yards and five touchdowns to nearly rally Illinois from a second-half deficit against nationally ranked Missouri. His five scoring strikes are tied for second in school history and are the third-highest total in Big Ten annals. Williams' 451-yard effort rates third in the Illini records book and topped his previous career-best by more than 200 yards. Illinois fell behind 45-20 in the third quarter, but Williams broke loose for almost 300 yards through the air and four touchdowns in the second half to nearly pull off the win.
    • The Illinois offense has put up staggering numbers in the first two games of 2008. With 532 total yards against Missouri and 533 against EIU, the Fighting Illini racked-up 500+ yards in consecutive games for the first time since 2002, when it happened three straight weeks (600 vs. Arkansas State on 9/14, 602 vs. San Jose State on 9/21 and 543 vs. Michigan on 9/28). Their point totals of 42 and 47 mark the first time an Illinois squad has scored 40+ points in back-to-back games since 1999 (40 at Iowa on 11/6 and 46 at Ohio State on 11/13).
    • For the second straight year, the Illini are averaging over 5 yards a rush as a team. Although the Illini only rushed for 81 yards against Missouri, the second game of the season was a different story with 399 yards on the ground. Much like the 2007 season, the Illini jump started the running game in its home opener. That season, the team went on to average 256 yards per game to lead the Big Ten.
    • Junior running bak Daniel Dufrene is picking up right where the running game left off last season. Through two games, he is averaging 87 yards per game, and 6.7 yards per touch on the ground. In his career he is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
    • Despite its past success in the running game, through two games in 2008 the Illini lead the conference in another offensive category -- passing. In two games, Illinois passed for 585 yards, an average of 292.5.
    • The Illini passed for 451 yards against Missouri marking the third-best passing performance in Illinois history.
    • In two games, the offense has put together 16 big plays over 20 yards, including three over 40 yards. Among those 16 were nine big passing plays and seven rushes.
    • Senior receiver Will Judson made the most out of his first collegiate start vs. Missouri, hauling in five catches for 177 yards. His performance was the best for an Illini receiver since Walter Young's 178 yards against LSU?in the 2002 Nokia Sugar Bowl. In his second game this year, he caught just one pass for nine yards, however it kept his first-down streak alive. All six of his catches this season have resulted in a fresh set of downs.

      Chris Duvalt has become one of Juice Willilams' favorite receivers after moving over from defense.

    • Judson and Chris Duvalt each hauled in two touchdown receptions in the season opener against Missouri, marking the first time since the 2002 Sugar Bowl that Illinois had two receivers with two TDs in a game (Walter Young and Brandon Lloyd vs. LSU).
    • Duvalt has caught a touchdown pass (2 vs. Missouri and 1 vs. EIU) in each of the first two games of the season, which also are his first two games as a receiver after switching from cornerback in spring practice. He has three TDs in only four career receptions.
    • Sophomore wide receiver Arrelious Benn, 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has become a big part of this Illini offense. In each of the first two games, he has caught seven passes and also been heavily involved in the running game. He is averaging 64 yards receiving and 7.2 yards per rush. His two touchdowns scored this season have been on the ground.
    • Last season, the offensive line set a school record for fewest sacks per game with 1.23 while posting the best numbers in total offense and rushing with 5,585 and 3,338 yards, respectively. The line blocked for the Big Ten's best rushing offense in 2006 and 2007. This season, the Illini offense ranks as the best in the Big Ten in passing and total offense through two games.


    • The defensive line features a rotation of nine players with those guys accounting for 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks through two games. Ends Derek Walker, Doug Pilcher and Will Davis are all returning starters from a year ago as well as tackle David Lindquist. From those four veterans, the Illini defense has gotten 21 tackles, three for loss and 1.5 sacks this season.
    • The Illinois defense has now held opponent offenses on three fourth-down attempts for the season. The Illini stopped Missouri twice in the season opener and once against EIU.
    • In the season opener against Missouri, Derek Walker intercepted a screen pass by Chase Daniel and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, his first career touchdown and the first INT by a down lineman since Jeff Ruffin's pick-six against Purdue on Oct. 12, 2002. The play also marked Illinois' first INT returned for a TD since Travon Bellamy's 41-yard return at Wisconsin on Oct. 28, 2006.
    • The defense has forced five turnovers this season -- three interceptions and two fumbles. DE Derek Walker, LB?Brit Miller and DB Dere Hicks have each intercepted one pass and Miller and Sam Carson have each forced a fumble.
    • Senior Brit Miller, who is a four-year starter at linebacker, moved to the middle this season with All-American J Leman gone to graduation and the NFL. Through two games, he has also replaced Leman atop the tackles list with 11.5 per game, which ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten.
    • Sophomore Martez Wilson and senior Rodney Pittman moved into starting linebacker roles this season after the departures of leading tacklers J Leman and Antonio Steele from last season. Wilson was a freshman All-American in a back-up and special teams role last season. Pittman had a big offseason and will move into the line-up for the first time this year as a senior. In the first two games, Wilson has posted the second-highest tackle total on the team with 10 per game, but also has 3.5 tackles for loss, which ranks second in the Big Ten. Pittman has nine tackles for the season.
    • The Illini replaced two starting safeties from a year ago after losing four-year starters Kevin Mitchell and Justin Harrison, both lost to graduation. Sophomores Bo Flowers, Travon Bellamy and Nate Bussey all have gotten a start this season and have combined for 28 tackles, one TFL and two passes broken up.


    • Sophomore punter Anthony Santella, coming off a career-best performance at last year's Rose Bowl, continued his improvement with a 42.0 yard per punt effort on eight punts vs. Missuri. He booted three over 50 yards and landed two inside the 20 yard line. Through two games he is averaging 41.2 per punt.
    • Sophomore Arrelious Benn returns for a second year as a kickoff returner. In his first year, he returned 10 kicks for a 28.0 average, which ranks third in the Illinois record books. His first collegiate return attempt came against Penn State for a 90-yard touchdown. In two games, he has returned five kickoffs for 85 yards, an average of 17.0 per return.
    • Illinois features an entirely new kicking battery this season after Kyle Knezetic, holder, Frank Lenti, Jr., and kicker, Jason Reda, were all lost to graduation. Sophomore Tad Keely took over long snapping duties and sophomore Jared Bosch serves as the holder for kicker Matt Eller. Eller in two games has been successful for two field goals and nine of 10 extra points.


    Maybe you don't have to be a rocket scientist to play football, but Illinois senior center Ryan McDonald thinks it doesn't hurt. In four years, McDonald finished an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering with a 3.83 GPA. After completing a bachelor's degree and having one more year of eligibility remaining, McDonald began a master's degree in the same program this fall. Illinois' College of Engineering is ranked among the top-5 in the nation, with some programs notching the top spot.


    • Junior tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, while growing up in Bloomington, Ill., lived much of the Hawaiian heritage passed down by his father, Isy. Isy came to the States to play football at Illinois State then stayed to raise his family.
    • When Michael came to Illinois, he began many of the traditions carried on by Polynesian and Samoan football players. He entered his freshman year with clean-cut short hair, but then began to grow it out to the long black mane that can be seen out the backs of football helmets. This tradition dates back to Samoan warriors to signify battle. It also is very noticeable to the public in the stands and draws attention to their heritage.
    • Hoomanamwanui also got two tattoos, called Aumakua, which means "protectors." His family's protectors are the shark and the turtle, two images that have been passed down for centuries and are now tattoos on Michael's arms and shoulders.
    • Michael also can be seen on campus wearing what looks to be a brightly adorned skirt. However, it is called a kikepa and is traditional dress for men in Hawaii.


    Sophomore safety Bo Flowers turned 24 the day after Illinois' upset of Ohio State last season and he is the oldest player on the Illini roster. Flowers began his college career last season after four years in professional baseball. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2003 by the Detroit Tigers. After spending three seasons in the Detroit organization, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he played the 2006 season. Currently, Flowers is a walk-on on the Illini team because the Tigers are footing the college bill.


    Illinois defenders Vontae and Will Davis (no relation) are two of the leaders on the Illinois defense. Vontae, a two-year starting cornerback earned unanimous first-team Freshman All-America honors in 2006 and emerged as one of the best corners in the Big Ten last season, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. He is a 2008 Playboy All-American and has totaled five interceptions and 17 passes broken up in his career, while also blocking two career punts. Will, a senior defensive end, exploded last season with 9.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He was named second-team All-Big Ten and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his four-sack, five-TFL performance vs. Indiana. This season, he broke into the Illinois all-time quarterback sack list with his two half sacks vs. EIU. He has totaled eight tackles, 1.5 for loss, a sack and a forced fumble this year.


    On this year's Illini football roster, there are five members who are direct descendents of Africa. Starting left guard Jon Asamoah's father, Samual Asamoah, is from Ghana in West Africa, and senior defensive end Will Davis' mother is from Liberia (see note on page 5), while four others' parents are Nigerian. Freshmen Supo Sanni, Ugochukwu Uzodinma, Chudi Aguanunu and Wisdom Onyegbule's parents were born and raised in Nigeria, also in West Africa. Sanni's parents are Sesis and Olarunji Sanni, Uzodinma's parents are Florence and Joel Uzodinma, Aguanunu's parents are Chika and Kate Aguanunu, and Onyegbule's parents are Onyemuwa and Grace Onyegbule.


    The Illini players select its team captains after the culmination of the season at its annual banquet. For each game, the coaches will select game captains to represent the team during the coin toss.


    After each Illini win, the coaches award their players of the game on offense, defenese and special teams. Here is a list of those winners for 2008.