The Illini will be
seeking their first
Big Ten win when
they play Michigan
for the first time
Oct. 18, 1999
ILLINOIS (3-3, 0-3) at No. 9 MICHIGAN (5-1, 2-1)
Oct. 23, 1999 • 12:10 p.m. ET Michigan Stadium (107,501) Ann Arbor, Michigan
ILLINI RENEW SERIES WTH NO. 9 MICHIGAN
The 3-3 Fighting Illini travel to Michigan to take on the Wolverines for the first time since 1996 and are in search of their first Big Ten win of 1999. Illinois is making its first appearance at Ann Arbor since a 20-8 loss on August 31, 1996. Ron Turner faces Michigan for the first time in his career, while Wolverine coach Lloyd Carr is 2-0 against Illinois. Michigan enters the game 5-1 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten and ranked ninth in the nation. The Wolverines are coming off their lone loss of the season, a 34-31 decision at Michigan State on October 9. Halfback Anthony Thomas leads the Michigan ground attack with 522 yards rushing (87.0 per game), ranking him 44th nationally. The passing game features senior signal-caller Tom Brady, who ranks 12th nationally is passing efficiency, sophomore quarterback Drew Henson and wideout Dave Terrell, who ranks 34th in receiving. On defense, Michigan is led by their outstanding trio of linebackers, Ian Gold, Dhani Jones, and James Hall. Gold and Jones are the team's top two tacklers with 44 and 41, respectively, while Hall leads the team with six sacks and eight tackles for loss. As a team, the Wolverines rank among the nation's statistical leaders in turnover margin (7th), scoring defense (14th), rushing defense (16th), passing offense (22nd), and total defense (33rd).
THE COACHES’ CORNER
RON TURNER - Turner is in his third season with the Illini with a record of 6-22 at Illinois, 13-26 overall as a head coach. Turner came to Illinois after a four-year stint as the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears (1993-96). In 1992, he was the head coach for San Jose State where he turned in a 7-4 record and a second-place finish in the Big West Conference. Turner served as an assistant at Stanford, Texas A&M, Southern California, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and Arizona working mainly with quarterbacks and receivers.
LLOYD CARR - The one-time Illinois assistant coach is in his fifth season as head coach at Michigan with an overall record of 44-12. Prior to being named head coach at Michigan, Carr served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Wolverines from 1990-94 under Gary Moeller. Prior to being named assistant head coach, Carr served as Wolverine defensive coordinator (1987-89) and as defensive backs coach (1980-86) under Bo Schembechler. Prior to his Michigan career, Carr was an assistant coach in the collegiate ranks at Eastern Michigan and Illinois.
THE SERIES: ILLINOIS VS. MICHIGAN
After a two-year drought, the Illini and Michigan will match-up for a contest at Michigan Stadium. In the series, the Wolverines lead 60-20-2. Michigan also leads games played in Ann Arbor 29-9-1. The last time the Illini pulled out a victory at Michigan Stadium was in 1993 when Illinois won 24-21 in a stirring come-from-behind victory on a forced fumble by Simeon Rice with a minute left in the game. Illini QB Johnny Johnson connected with Jim Klein on a fourth-down, 15-yard TD reception. Prior to that game, Illinois hadn’t won at Michigan Stadium since 1966. Michigan came out victorious in the last meeting between the two teams in 1996. The Wolverines topped the Illini 20-8 in the season opener in Ann Arbor.
PLAYING THE NATIONALLY RANKED
The No. 9 Wolverines will be the second nationally ranked team the Illini have faced this season. Illinois dropped a 27-10 loss to No. 19 Michigan State earlier in the season. The last time the Illini defeated a ranked team was in 1995 when they won 9-7 over No. 17 Arizona, since then Illinois has lost 16 straight to top-25 teams. Illinois has faced Michigan on four occasions when the Wolverines were ranked No. 1 in the nation, including a 25-6 upset in 1955.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr served as defensive backs coach at Illinois in 1977-78 under head coach Gary Moeller.
Michigan has seven players from the state of Illinois: Linebackers Dan Rumishek (Addison/Trail HS) and Bob Fraumann (Deerfield/Deerfield HS), offensive lineman Chris Ziemann (Aurora/Waubonsie Valley HS) and Tony Pape (Clarendon Hills/Hinsdale South), cornerback Todd Howard (Bolingbrook/Bolingbrook HS), defensive lineman Kurt Anderson (Glenbrook/South HS), and fullback Aaron Shea (Ottawa/Ottawa HS). Illinois has one player from the state of Michigan. Matt Carlton (Livonia/Brighton HS).
Michigan cornerback Todd Howard attended Bolingbrook HS with Illini running back Antoineo Harris and linebacker Eric Garrett. Howard and Harris both graduated in 1998. Michigan linebacker Bob Fraumann attended same high school as Aaron Moorehead (Deerfield HS). Three Michigan players, quarterback Drew Henson, defensive lineman Dave Pearson, offensive lineman Eric Warner, attended Brighton (Mich.) HS, the same high school as Illinois defensive tackle Matt Carlton.
Michigan offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Kish coached together on Northwestern's staff in 1992. DeBord was offensive line coach while Kish coached defensive ends and linebackers. Wolverines defensive line coach Brady Hoke coached inside linebackers at Oregon State in 1990 when current Illini receivers coach Robert Jackson served as receivers coach at OSU.
ILLINI DROP SIXTH STRAIGHT HOMECOMING LOSS
With a quick start and a powerful ground attack, Minnesota defeated the Illini 37-7 to spoil Illinois' homecoming at Memorial Stadium. Minnesota opened the scoring at the 4:30 mark of the first quarter when Luke Leverson returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown. Minnesota scored on their next posession when Billy Cockerham found Jermaine Mays in the endzone for a 6-yard strike, giving the Golden Gophers a 14-0 lead. Minnesota extended their lead to 17-0 when Dan Nystrom booted a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Illinois cut the lead to 17-7 with a quick strike before halftime. Kurt Kittner threw a 32-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to Aaron Moorehead, capping a drive that went 48 yards in three plays and took just 15 seconds. Minnesota scored 10 points in the both the third and fourth quarters, including two scoring drives of 70-plus yards in the fourth to take the 37-7 victory. On the afternoon, Minnesota running back Thomas Hamner rushed for 184 yards while quarterback Billy Cockerham rushed for 100 yards and threw for 95 yards and one touchdown. As a team, the Golden Gophers racked up 367 yards rushing in the game.
A majority of the Illini’s offense can be credited to Illinois’ version of the 4-H’s: the Illini backfield Elmer Hickman, Steve Havard, Rocky Harvey and Antoineo Harris. Hickman, starting fullback, led the Illini in receiving against Minnesota with seven catches. He has 29 receptions for 216 yards for the season. Havard, with 60 yards against Minnesota has pulled within 48 yards of the top-20 all-time Illinois rushers. He is averaging 75.2 yards a game and leads the team with 462 rushing yards. Harvey, the all-purpose back, has two rushing TDs and one receiving. He has compiled 196 yards rushing and 162 yards receiving, including a team-season long catch of 67 yards vs. Louisville. Harris posted his first career touchdown against Indiana on an 11-yard run. He is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and erupted for a 47-yard run against Louisville.
After starting the season without turnovers in the first two games, the Illini defense has forced 11 in the last four games combined. The Illini took advantage of three Indiana turnovers for two touchdowns and a field goal in the contest. Junior defensive lineman Jason Eberhart forced four fumbles vs. the Hoosiers, while safety Muhammad Abdullah has two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Eric Guenther recorded his first career interception in the second half against Michigan State, while Danny Clark got his first of the year in the fourth quarter. Senior safety Asim Pleas had the team’s first turnover of the season with an interception against Louisville. Against Minnesota, the Illinois defense stopped the driving Gophers with a sack-fumble by Mon Long at the Illini’s eight-yard line and senior corner Tony Francis intercepted his first of the season in the endzone.
ILLINOIS’ SIGNAL CALLER
Six games into the 1999 season, Illinois starting quarterback Kurt Kittner has already more than doubled his numbers from the entire 1998 season. Kittner has thrown for 1375 yards (691 in ‘98) and thrown 12 touchdown passes (one last season), connecting with nine different receivers for TD receptions. He is completing 54 percent of his passes and has a 12-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Of Big Ten quarterbacks, Kittner has the second best interception percentage at 0.9 (two interceptions in 211 attempts). Ironically Michigan’s Tom Brady has the conference’s best percentage (0.7 - one interception in 142 attempts). Kittner’s touchdown percentage is 5.7, ranking third in the Big Ten. Kittner has thrown eight 30 yard-plus passes and five have gone for touchdowns.
EXTRA SPECIAL TEAMS
Sophomore sensation Steve Fitts ranks seventh in the nation in punt yardage average with 45.91, while the team ranks fifth in net punting. Fitts has blasted punts of 74, 70 and 58 yards, and has landed 10 punts inside the 20 yard line. Senior placekicker Neil Rackers is a perfect 19-for-19 in PATs and is 9-for-12 in field goals with his longest of the year being a 45-yarder vs. Arkansas State. Of Rackers’ 33 kickoffs only eight have been returnable, 24 have been touchbacks and the average starting field position for opponents is on the 22 yardline.
DEAN OF RECEIVERS
After three years without a touchdown reception, senior receiver Michael Dean has four touchdown receptions in six games. Dean has led all receivers in four of the six games and has had two 100-yard receiving games (100 yards vs. Indiana, 124 yards vs. Louisville). He has 29 catches for 408 yards. His first collegiate touchdown came on a 12-yard strike from QB Kurt Kittner against Arkansas State, then followed that up with a spectacular 38-yard grab vs. San Diego State. His third came on an eight-yard catch against Louisville. His fourth made ESPN Plays of the Week on a eight-yard, one-handed grab around the defender.
WHERE THERE’S A WILSON THERE’S A WAY
With a punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas State and a near-touchdown return against San Diego State, true-freshman Eugene Wilson has become a huge asset to Illinois’ special teams. Wilson’s 65-yard return for a touchdown was Illinois’ first since 1982 when Kirby Wilson took a punt 42-yard for a score. Eugene also had a 56-yard return vs. SDSU which took him to the two yardline. He has returned 20 punts for 224 yards, averaging 11.2 yards a return and ranks 29th in the nation.
By the near-flawless play of the Illini vs. Arkansas State you would have never guessed that 18 Illini made their collegiate debut, including five true-freshmen. Illinois went without a penalty until late in the fourth quarter and had no turnovers, while at the same time starting two redshirt-freshmen. The players making their debut were: starting flanker Greg Lewis, starting right tackle Tony Pashos, Marc Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Trayvon Waller, Walter Young, Quincy Washington, Eugene Wilson, Antoineo Harris, Carlos Lattimore, Brett Kautter, James Brown, David Diehl, Brian Scott, Terrell Washington, Aaron Moorehead and Mike O’Brien.
ILLINI TICKET OFFICE ONLINE
Fans can now order their season and single game tickets online at www.fightingillini.com. Football tickets for the Penn State and Northwestern games are still on sale as well as season tickets for the nationally ranked men’s and women’s basketball teams. Visit www.fightingillini.com to order now.
ILLINOIS ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT PRAISED
According to The Sporing News, Illinois ranks among the top 20 of the 1999 Best Collegiate Athletic Departments. Released in USA Today, Illinois ranks 18th in a list of 20 dominated by the Big Ten Conference. The Fighting Illini were one of nine Big Ten schools selected in the top 20, Penn State took top honors. The 112 participating Division I schools were graded on win-loss record, graduation rates, fan support and ethics. Illinois received A- marks in fan support, graduation rates and ethics.
CLARK TABBED FOR NATIONAL AWARD CONSIDERATION
For the second year in a row, linebacker Danny Clark has been named as a Butkus Award candidate in a preliminary list of 65 which was announced by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando. Clark led his Fighting Illini in ‘98 with 115 total tackles, including 10 for loss. He had 84 solo stops, seven passes broken up and two interceptions, including one against Purdue QB Drew Brees. Clark was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick. The award is named for one of the greatest linebackers to play the game former Illini Dick Butkus. Since the inception of the award in 1985, two Illini linebackers have been recipients, Dana Howard in 1994 and Kevin Hardy in 1995.
CLARK AND KITTNER GARNER BIG TEN ACCOLADES
Illinois senior linebacker and Butkus Award Candidate Danny Clark was named the co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his 17-tackle performance against San Diego State on Sept. 11 and sophomore QB Kurt Kittner landed the offensive award a week later for his four-touchdown performance in the Illini’s win over Louisville. Clark had 5 solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles and two tackles for loss in the SDSU win, while Kittner completed 17-of-24 passes and set a single game career-high for completion percentage (70.8%). His 67-yard TD pass to Rocky Harvey was a career-long. The last time the Illini had back-to-back winners was in 1994 when Simeon Rice was honored following the Washington State game (9/1/94), and the entire Illinois defense won the award for their performance vs. Missouri (9/10/94) when they allowed only one first down and 46 yards total offense.
THE JACKSON THREE
The Jackson Three, two-year starter Bobby, true-freshman Marc and first-year coach Robert have been reunited. The Harvey, Illinois natives have come home to Illinois after stints in Corvallis, Oregon. Bobby and Marc both enjoyed standout careers at Crescent Valley High School, while Dad was the receivers coach and director of football operations at Oregon State. After the departure of Illini offensive coordinator Buddy Teevens, who also served as receivers coach, it seemed only right to bring back a natural coach at the position who also had ties with recruiting in the state of Illinois (coached at Northern Illinois 1985-89). Marc is listed in the two-deep at safety this season, while Bobby underwent knee surgery and is expected to be out indefinitely.
ILLINI WINS GAIN INTEREST
Busey Bank’s “Illini Fan CD” has fans banking on the team’s fortunes. The certificate of deposit’s annual percentage yield climbs with each Illinois victory on the gridiron. A minimum $2,500 deposit is required on the 10-month CD with a starting 5.70 percent annual percentage yield. Each time the Illini win, a 0.03 percentage point is added to the rate. A bowl bid adds another 0.05 percentage point, while a trip to the Rose Bowl adds 0.10 percentage points.
RON TURNER TELEVISION SHOW
The Ron Turner Show, taped after each week’s game, will air on the following dates and times:
|Alton||AT&T Cable||Tuesday||6:30 p.m.|
|Belleville||AT&T Cable||Tuesday||7 p.m.|
|Chicago||Fox Sports||Tuesday||3:30 p.m.|
|Davenport, Iowa||KWQC||Monday||12:30 a.m.|
|Maryville||Charter Communication||Wednesday||6:30 p.m.|
|Mt. Carmel||WCJT||Thursday||9:30 p.m.|
|Mt. Vernon||CableVision||Wednesday||7:30 p.m.|
|Peoria||AT&T Cable||Tuesday||6:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday||11 a.m. & 11 p.m.|
|St. Louis||AT&T Cable||Tuesday||10:30 p.m.|
|Taylorville||Falcon Cable||Thursday||6 p.m.|
RON TURNER RADIO SHOW
The Ron Turner Show will air every Monday during the season at 6:05 p.m. Each week the radio show travels to different locations on campus. The following is a list of locations for the show:
Oct. 18 Beta Sigma Psi fraternity
Oct. 25 4-H House sorority
Nov. 1 Koinonia Christian Group
Nov. 8 Alpha Tau Omega fraternity
Nov. 15 Delta Delta Delta sorority
Illinois Sports Network
Jim Turpin, play-by-play
Jim Grabowski, color
ESPN-Plus, 12:10 p.m. ET
Wayne Larrivee, play-by-play
Randy Wright, color
Jim Barbar, sideline
The team will depart Willard Airport at 2:15 p.m. CT via charter and will walkthrough at Michigan Stadium at 5 p.m. ET. Team headquarters is the Ypsilanti Marriott, (734) 487-2000.
players that appear on the depth chart
Greg Lewis (ankle) out … Mike McGee (hamstring pull) questionable.
|Time of Possession||29:25||29:45|
|3rd Down Conversion||37.0||42.0|
|Rushing Yds. Allowed||161.5||95.0|
|Passing Yds. Allowed||215.0||233.3|
• Did you know … with 161 points scored in five games this is the highest scoring squad since the 1982 squad put up 164 points through the first five games.
• Did you know … the Illini have scored more points in six games than they did during the 1997 and ‘98 seasons.
• Did you know … Illinois quarterback Kurt Kittner has connected with nine different receivers for 12 touchdown passes this season.
• Did you know … quarterback Kurt Kittner’s 323 yards passing against Michigan State is the first 300+ yard passing game since Jason Verduzco threw for 341 vs. Houston in 1991.
• Did you know … 18 Illini made their collegiate debut vs. Arkansas State, including five true-freshmen.
• Did you know … only 17 games into his career at Illinois punter Steve Fitts ranks ninth on Illinois career punting yardage list. He also etched his name into the books with his single season marks of 77 punts (4th), punting yardage (4th), and punting average (3rd) in 1998.
• Did you know … that Rocky Harvey was named a “Top 10 Rookie” by Sports Illustrated last season, leading the Illini with 634 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
USA TODAY/COACHES POLL
|1.||Florida St (52)||7-0|
|2.||Penn St (7)||7-0|
ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL
|1.||Florida St (62)||7-0|
|2.||Penn St (6)||7-0|
|4.||Virginia Tech (2)||6-0|
NCAA Team Rankings
|Pass Efficiency Defense||43rd||57th|
NCAA Individual Rankings
BIG TEN team rankings
|Pass Efficiency Defense||5th||8th|
BIG TEN individual rankings
|PAT Kicking Pct.||Rackers||1st|
|Field Goal Pct.||Rackers||6th|
ILLINOIS FOOTBALL - RECORDS TO WATCH
QB SACKS (CAREER)
PUNTING YARDAGE (CAREER)
TOUCHDOWN PASSES (SEASON)
|1.||Jeff George, 1989||22|
|2.||Tony Eason, 1981||20|
|3.||Dave Wilson, 1980||19|
|Jack Trudeau, 1983||19|
|Johnny Johnson, 1994||19|
|6.||Tony Eason, 1982||18|
|Jack Trudeau, 1984||18|
|Jack Trudeau, 1985||18|
|9.||Jason Verduzco, 1990||16|
|10.||Jason Verduzco, 1991||15|
|Kurt Kittner, 1999||12|
TOUCHDOWN PASSES (CAREER)
|1.||Jack Trudeau, 1981-85||55|
|2.||Jason Verduzco, 1989-92||42|
|3.||Tony Eason, 1981-82||38|
|4.||Johnny Johnson, 1992-95||35|
|5.||Jeff George, 1988-89||31|
|6.||Mike Wells, 1970-72||21|
|7.||Dave Wilson, 1980||19|
|8.||Kurt Steger, 1975-77||18|
|Tom O’Connell, 1951-52||18|
|10.||Fred Custardo, 1963-65||15|
|Kurt Kittner, 1999||13|
PASSING YARDAGE (SEASON)
|1.||Tony Eason, 1982||3,671|
|2.||Tony Eason, 1981||3,360|
|3.||Jack Trudeau, 1985||3,339|
|4.||Dave Wilson, 1980||3,154|
|5.||Jason Verduzco, 1991||3,014|
|6.||Jeff George, 1989||2,738|
|7.||Jack Trudeau, 1984||2,724|
|8.||Jack Trudeau, 1983||2,624|
|9.||Jason Verduzco, 1990||2,567|
|10.||Johnny Johnson, 1994||2,495|
|Kurt Kittner, 1999||1,375|
PASSING YARDAGE (CAREER)
|1.||Jack Trudeau, 1981-85,||8,725|
|2.||Jason Verduzco, 1989-92||7,532|
|3.||Tony Eason, 1981-82||7,031|
|4.||Johnny Johnson, 1992-95||5,293|
|5.||Jeff George, 1988-89||5,189|
|6.||Scott Weaver, 1993-96||3,212|
|7.||Dave Wilson, 1980||3,154|
|8.||Mike Wells, 1970-72||2,750|
|9.||Kurt Steger, 1975-77||2,735|
|10.||Tom O’Connell, 1951-52||2,453|
|Kurt Kittner, 1998-99||2,157|
RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS (SEASON)
|1.||David Williams, 1985||10|
|2.||Randy Grant, 1984||8|
|David Williams, 1984||8|
|Mike Bellamy, 1989||8|
|5.||Greg Dentino, 1980||6|
|Oliver Williams, 1981||6|
|Oliver Williams, 1982||6|
|David Williams, 1983||6|
|Shawn Wax, 1990||6|
|Elbert Turner, 1991||6|
|Jason Dulick, 1994||6|
|Ken Dilger, 1994||6|