Penn State vs. Illinois: Report Card

Who made the grade an who came up short as the Nittany Lions fell to the Illini?

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Everyone knows Penn State is seriously feeling the effects of NCAA sanctions this year. But to use them as an excuse for Saturday's 16-14 pratfall to Illinois here will not cut it.

If the Nittany Lions had simply been average across the board, they would have won easily. Instead, there were serious issues everywhere, and the Illini escaped with a 16-14 victory.

Here is our report card.

OVERALL

As James Franklin said, all three phases of the game hurt the Lions in this one. An ugly loss vs. a bad team.

GRADE: D-

OFFENSE

The Illini came into this game giving up an average of 36 points per outing. Penn State scored 14.

GRADE: F+

DEFENSE

As usual, this unit deserved better. But it had a chance to put the game away and failed to do so.

GRADE: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS

It is bad news when basics like fielding a snap, staying onside for a punt and catching a pop-up kickoff are issues this late in the season.

GRADE: F

COACHING

Franklin and company did not have the Lions ready to play.

GRADE: D-

INTANGIBLES

Illinois was practically begging to be housed early on and Penn State just refused to do it.

GRADE: F

OTHER GUY

Give the Illini credit. They made plays when it mattered.

GRADE: B-

OFFICIALS

To put any blame here would be to make excuses for poor play. We're not gonna do that.

GRADE: B

CROWD

It was announced at 35,172 but could not have been more than 25,000. The few students who attended the game during Thanksgiving break seemed to be having a good time, though.

GRADE: D


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