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Illini players insist they’ll keep fighting to the end

Updated: November 29, 2012 6:50AM

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ game Saturday against Indiana might have been its last, best chance to give Tim Beckman his first Big Ten victory. But the Illini vowed to keep fighting the good fight.

‘‘We don’t have any quitters on this team,’’ defensive end Michael Buchanan said. ‘‘We don’t have any cancers on this team. Everybody wants to win games. We can still make a bowl game, so we’re going to fight to the end.’’

Barring a major upset, Illinois’ bowl hopes will be dashed next Saturday at Ohio State. A start time hasn’t been set yet.

The Illini still are intent on salvaging some things, though.

‘‘We have four opportunities left,’’ coach Tim Beckman said. ‘‘We’re fighters. You have no choice but to fight. We have great kids here. We just have to learn to win and continue to fight.’’

Tuning it out

It’s difficult not to hear all the grumbling about Beckman, who’s off to a rocky start in terms of winning fans, not to mention games. But the players say they aren’t paying attention to the negativity.

‘‘I don’t listen to it,’’ receiver Darius Millines said. ‘‘It goes in one ear and comes out the other. I know how good of a team we are. We just have to put all of our pieces together and keep fighting and show everyone.’’

Quick counts

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase tweaked his sore ankle late in the game but said he’ll be fine with a little treatment.

‘‘The disappointment of losing hurts more,’’ he said. ‘‘The bumps and bruises don’t feel as bad if we come up with a win.’’

◆ Illinois was 7-for-17 on third-down conversions. Indiana was 1-for-13.

Jonathan Brown led the Illini defense with 11 tackles, two for loss, and a sack.

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