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Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Chicago Tribune: Win streak welcome change for Illini
September 14, 2005, 9:13 PM CDT
CHAMPAIGN -- A victory Saturday at California would give Illinois its first three-game winning streak since 2001. Four years ago the Illini won three straight before losing their Big Ten opener at Michigan, then went on a seven-game winning streak before losing to Louisiana State in the Sugar Bowl. That was before JJ Simmons' time. "I haven't experienced a [three-game] winning streak since I've been here," said the junior offensive tackle, a redshirt freshman when the Illini took two in a row in 2002. Although the Illini routed San Jose 40-19, coach Ron Zook sensed the players were unhappy after giving up a 96-yard kickoff return and two field goals in the fourth quarter. "[But] I told the players: 'Wins are hard to come by. You have to enjoy this. We made a lot of improvement and I'm proud of you guys. Don't be walking around like we didn't win,'" Zook said.