Illinois: Game Review

Get up-to-the-minute updates during the Penn State-Illinois clash right here as the Nittany Lions look to bounce back on track and the Illini tries to make a statement in Big Ten play.


Penn State mounted a solid drive out of the gate on the arm of Anthony Morelli, marching down to the 7-yard line on a 30-yard pass to Chris Bell. But the red-zone woes continued with an end zone deflection away from tight end Andrew Quarless. Kevin Kelly's kick was hit but flubbed in. 3-0 PSU.

Illinois answered right back with a kickoff returned for a touchdown by Illinois' freshman wideout Arrelious Benn. 7-3 Illinois.

Later, Illinois drove for a second touchdown on the legs of Rashard Mendenhall and some surprising third-down passes by Juice Williams. At this stage the defense is playing uninspired and actually seems tired. 14-3 Illinois.

Penn State mounted a quick-strike touchdown, after a drive that included a 45-yard pass to Jordan Norwood and a 25-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Williams. Both of Morelli's passes were well-placed, but were sloppy and loose. 14-10 Illinois.


Illinois mounted a solid drive before Williams passed deep into the end zone and was picked off by Justin King, who then had a mental lapse and took it out to the 5-yard line.

Penn State mounted a solid drive, which was snuffed out by a Rodey Kinlaw fumble recovered by the Illini.

Illinois mounted another solid drive with Mendalhall and managed another touchdown against a lackluster defensive line and secondary. 21-10 Illinois.

Penn State hit again on a 43-yard pass to Norwood and a 7-yard touchdown run by Austin Scott, who replaced Kinlaw after the fumble. 21-17 Illinois.

On the next drive the PSU defense finally stopped Illinois, but took over at their own 12. After two Morelli sacks PSU is forced to punt, but Jeremy Boone got PSU out of a jam with a 70-yard punt.

The teams gave the ball back to each other with Kevin Kelly missing a 52-yard field goal attempt.


Total Yards: PSU 255, ILL 193
Total Plays: PSU 39, ILL 34
Turnovers: PSU 1, ILL 1
Time of Possession:
PSU 17:18, ILL 12:32

Morelli: 11 for 17, 176 yards, 1 TD
Kinlaw: 8 carries, 35 yards (4.4 YPC)
Scott: 6 carries, 34 yards (5.7 YPC), 1 TD
Norwood: 3 catches, 89 yards
Bell: 1 catch, 37 yards
Williams: 3 catches, 33 yards, 1 TD


Illinois managed to drive down and hit a 47 yard field goal. 24-17 Illinois

PSU got the ball back, but on third and two Morelli tosses into triple coverage and they give it back.

Penn State got back in business when Williams was flushed out and made a sloppy toss that Tony Davis intercepted. PSU drove down to the 1-yard line, but could not punch it in, settling for a 20-yard Kelly field goal. 24-20 Illinois.

Penn State defense started to tighten up, holding Illinois inside the 10 after a solid Boone kick. After the punt Illinois gave PSU a gift with a sloppy kick-catch interference. Morelli it Quarless on the next play with a perfect endzone toss, but it was stripped. On the next pass PSU's hopes were dashed with a Morelli interception. Once again, once PSU seems to find some momentum it is snuffed out with a mistake.

Penn State dodges a bullet due to more miscues by Juice Williams and his inability to convert on third down passes.


Penn State once again mounts some drives, but on a critical third and 10 at the Illinois 25, Morelli tossed an interception with nine minutes left.

The defense again blows up on big runs by Mendenhall and a huge McGee scamper (in for Williams) for Illinois. The defense was simply inconsistent throughout the contest. Fortunately, they held with nearly a King interception on 3rd and eight. Illinois hit a field goal. 27-20 Illinois.

Penn State got the ball back with seven minutes left and a shot to tie the game up. Penn State again drives down and on third and 10 at the 20, Morelli rumbles to the first down...and fumbles. Kinda summarizes the day.

On Illinois' final drive Mendelhall gets a key first down, but the officials finally make a holding call. Penn State gets the ball back at the Illini 42 with 47 ticks on the clock. And of course a sack and interception and Illinois wins 27-20. Buckle your seatbelt the S.S. Nittany is about to hit rougher seas.


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