The Low Five
Simply Offensive: Horrible quarterback play made this a one-dimensional offense and basically put the offensive game plan on Silas Redd's shoulders. But more on Redd later. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin each had their moments of ineptitude although crdeit McGloin for actually completing some passes and avoiding the rush from time to time. Bolden went 0-4 on the day and was given much of the first half despite a series of sacks, deflected passes and a key fumble.
Rob-bed Opportunity: On that note, it was amazing to see the offensive coaches squander a series of drives by keeping Bolden under center when he struggled seeing the rush and simply does not run through is progression. It not only put him in a dangerous position, but did a disservice to the team.
Do It Again: The unimaginative approach of the offensive coaching staff was epic in this game. After a successful toss play to Redd the coaches ran it again...and again...and again. The Illinois defense knew exactly what was coming and forced Penn State to settle for a field goal.
Mental Case: False starts on third down, dropped passes for first downs, encroachment - the offense in particular had a series of mental lapses throughout this game that crushed the momentum of the squad.
Mis-Timed: With the win, this will likely be widely forgotten but as the game wound down along with the clock, Penn State called a timeout that stopped the clock and allowed Illinois to regroup. If Illinois had hit the field goal to tie it up, it likely would have become a major discussion point.
So after 58 minutes of anemic play, both offenses decided to wake up. Penn State managed to go ahead with an 80-yard drive that took all of 1:57.
The High Five
Here You Go: Despite the offensive struggles, the Penn State defense showed up and took away the ball four times. Plus the Special Teams managed a block at hands of Brad Bars, which gave the offense another short field.
Redd Alert: Silas Redd was just about the only consistent high on the offensive side of things. On the day he had a career-high 30 carries for 137 yards and the final touchdown. He showed up and played tough and deserves a big pat on the back.
Hot Pursuit: The defense led by Devon Still and Jordan Hill with some key blitzing by Gerald Hodges and Nate Stupar managed to get consistent penetration on the Illinois pocket, limiting the three Illini quarterbacks to a total 94 passing yards on 13 completions (3.9 YPP).
Moye Importante: Just when the Lions needed him Derek Moye made a return and made two key grabs to move Penn State down the field on the final touchdown drive for 29 yards. Justin Brown also had a key grab and ended with 50 yards on three catches.
Ace of Heart: Say what you will about the win being ugly - and boy was it ever. But it's a win and moved PSU to 8-1 on the season and alone on top of the Leaders Division.