Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg gave Penn State a 24-17 lead in the first overtime period with a third down touchdown toss to Kyle Carter, and then the Lions won it on Illinois first play of its period, as Adrian Amos tipped a pass that was picked off by safety Ryan Keiser to end it.
The Lions were stuck in neutral for nearly all of the second half, allowing the visitors to take a brief 17-14 lead when Illinois quarterback Nate Scheelhaase dumped off a screen pass to back Josh Ferguson, who rumbled seven yards for the go-ahead score.
The fumble problems that have plagued Zach Zwinak bit Bill Belton today, as the Lion junior fumbled on the Illinois one yard-line. State would eventually get the ball back, and kicker Sam Ficken would tie it when his 35-yarder was true.
PREGAME: WR Richy Anderson, who did not travel to Ohio State to focus on schoolwork, is in uniform and warming up. … CB DaQuan Davis, who did not make the trip to OSU for unspecified reasons, is also in uniform.
An Illinois penalty helped set up Penn State's first score, and another one took a sure Illini touchdown away.
Penn State leads visiting Illinois 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, taking the lead on a Bill Belton 5-yard touchdown run. The Lion back has 11 carries for 65 yards and a score, and also a reception.
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has only completed passes to Belton and Allen Robinson, and the latter has caught five of the freshman's six completions. State has outgained the visitors 151-105 after 15 minutes.
Head coach Tim Beckman's club seemed to tie the game at seven when quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase found Spencer Harris, who beat a turned around Jordan Lucas 50 yards down the field. But a personal foul flag for a chop block negated the score, and Illinois was later forced to punt.
Penn State leads Illinois 14-3 at the break, though it could very well be 17-3. Or 14-0.
Illinois got on the board with a 20-yard field goal from Talor Zalewski on an un-timed down to end the half after Penn State safety Malcolm Willis was flagged for roughing the passer. Hackenberg's nine-yard scoot earlier in the second quarter had given Penn State a 14-0 lead.
The Lions could be up 17-3 had placekicker Sam Ficken been true on a 37-yarder, but his kick sailed wide right. The Lion booter has now missed three of his last six attempts.
Penn State leads on the yards tote 246 to 213. Hackenberg is 10-of-14 for 107 yards, while Bill Belton has a game high 15 carries for 95 yards and a score. Robinson is the game's leading receiver, hauling in six passes for 94 yards so far.
Penn State started slow again coming out of the half, failing to score and stop Illinois, who scored to pull with four at 14-10 with a quarter to play.
Illinois scored its first touchdown of the afternoon with a 13 play, 88 yard drive that ended with a Scheelhaase pitch to Ferguson, who galloped eight yards for a score.
Penn State did nothing on the ensuing drive, and as we head to the fourth, Illinois is marching into Lion territory. It will be 2nd and 10 from the 33 for Beckman's club when play resumes.
Hackenberg has just 42 passing yards in the second half, and though Belton has hit a career high with 129 yards, State has struggled to move the ball.