There hasn't been much finger pointing, said Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, unless the Illini have been looking at themselves in a mirror.

CHAMPAIGN -- There hasn't been much finger pointing, said Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, unless the Illini have been looking at themselves in a mirror.

Petrino took the heat for going for it on fourth down and 2 late in the loss to Ohio State on Saturday. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase stepped up and said his two interceptions played a key role in the 17-7 defeat to Ohio State, an upset with the oddsmakers and the top 25 ranking.

"If people point at themselves first, you always have a chance to get it corrected,'' Petrino said.

When No. 23 Illinois (6-1 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten) plays at Purdue (3-3, 1-1) on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN2), it's up to the Illini to rebound from the first loss of the season.

"Coming off a loss, you want to show people you were that good football team in the first six weeks of the season,'' said tight end Evan Wilson.

Even if Purdue needs the win to help its own bowl hopes on homecoming, it's all about the Illini.

"As much as anything, it's about us getting the swagger back, making plays and believing in ourselves,'' Petrino said. "That's just human nature. You get knocked on your (butt), sometimes you second-guess yourself. We have to jump up and come back fighting.''

The quarterback is also a guy who wanted to rebound. Those picks, he said, had nothing to do with the blustery wind.

"Those were all the QB,'' he said. "I was kicking myself for a while after the loss. You should feel that way after a loss. You live and you learn.

"I made some mistakes and could have done some things better. I should have had a lot of the blame. The best thing about college football is that you can change that in a week.''

LET'S GET PHYSICAL: During practice this week, Illini receivers will get pushed, poked, shoved, pulled and just about anything goes, as Illinois attempts to remember how to make tough catches in traffic. Ohio State defensive backs were physical, and the Illini failed to make big catches on third down to extend drives.

"We've really emphasized catching the ball while getting hit, being held and getting whacked,'' said Petrino, who also serves as the wide receiver coach. "Hopefully, that will carry over.

"When they're not calling it, you better be able to catch it when they're banging on you. We have to make that catch.''

INJURY REPORT: Wide receiver Darius Millines will play against Purdue, coach Ron Zook said, after missing three games with a stress fracture in his foot. Running back Jason Ford was off limits to contact Tuesday, but Zook was confident he would return from a sprained shoulder suffered against Ohio State.

NOTABLE: Sophomore Miles Osei, a reserve quarterback, has lined up on kickoff returns and might be used in other positions on offense, Zook said. ... With everyone talking about the handshake issue in the NFL, Zook said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who Zook called a friend, can be short after losing. Said Zook, "The two times we've beaten Penn State, he's not real friendly after the game, and I wouldn't expect him to be.''
Despite a minus-2-yard average on punt returns against Ohio Sate, Zook said, "We've made some progress in our punt return game.''

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnSupinie.