Illini may miss Mizzou, but cautious about ASU - KMOV.com

Illini may miss Mizzou, but cautious about ASU

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Illinois head coach Ron Zook looks around as team warms up before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh Illinois head coach Ron Zook looks around as team warms up before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
Illinois head coach Ron Zook walks to the field before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh Illinois head coach Ron Zook walks to the field before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
Illinois head coach Ron Zook celebrates after Illinois defeated Northwestern 48-27 in an NCAA college football game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh Illinois head coach Ron Zook celebrates after Illinois defeated Northwestern 48-27 in an NCAA college football game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
Illinois head coach Ron Zook shouts at his players from the sideline during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan won 67-65 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Tony Ding) By Tony Ding Illinois head coach Ron Zook shouts at his players from the sideline during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan won 67-65 in triple overtime. (AP Photo/Tony Ding) By Tony Ding

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- For the first time in a while Illinois will open its season with someone other than Missouri.
  
But the Illini are trying to remain cautious ahead of a date Saturday with a likely more manageable opponent in Arkansas State
  
Illinois has played Missouri in its season opener the past four years and lost every time.
  
Coach Ron Zook said Tuesday he'll miss the big-game atmosphere. But he says he's thinking far more about a home opener and that begins a stretch of five straight home games.
  
Some Illini players have talked about bowl ambitions. Defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus said that kind of talk has been put aside to get ready for ASU.
  
Illinois was 7-6 last season and Arkansas State 4-8. They'll kick off the season Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
 

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