By Paul M. Banks and Paul Schmidt
10:30 AM – YAWN. What in the world are you doing here now?? Even Red Grange Statue is still sleeping….and he stands on one leg! In front of Memorial Stadium!!!
Anyway, PB and I will be back here in roughly 4 hours bringing you all the news that’s fit to print from the aforementioned Memorial Stadium, maybe with some campus stories earlier than that (You ever stand in line at a Follett’s on game day? Yeah, I didn’t think so…).
So sit back and relax, maybe read why Paul and I are so disappointed in this football season. Or check out my college picks against the spread. I call this week my own personal “Battle to get to .500.” If mediocrity can’t drive us, really, what can??
And don’t forget, we’ll see you in 4 hours! I-L-L!!
3:00 til game time: Shockingly, the weather is crappy here at beautiful Memorial Stadium, but it’s sold out! Well, at least in terms of ticket sales, anyway…it’s probably about 2/3rds full by my estimation. Some space shuttle action here today. Woo.
Late prediction is a Penn State route, 31-7. On the plus side, Illinois gets on the board for a score in Big Ten play…on the down side, they get killed again and a fan base revolts….PS
Illinois 0, Penn State 0, 10:13 left 1q
Interesting start to the game, and special teams are failing the Illini early. TERRIBLE kick catch interference penalty by Jeff Cumberland and then terrible positioning from Jarred Fayson on the ensuing punt left Illinois backed up to their own three-yard line, when they could have had Penn State similarly backed up. The Illini offense has shown some early life, but two stupid mistakes that are becoming symptomatic of the Ron Zook era. PS
Illinois-Penn notted up at 0, 6min 1st qtr
My prediction is closer than that. I’ll say PSU 26-17. But that score again is only that close, because I think ILL will score a lot in garbage time. At least Juice is now throwing ahead of his receivers instead of behind them, so that’s progress right? Well it’s a start. JoePa are doing a great job taking away the deep ball. He’s had to go all check-downs and safety valves
Clay Nurse is having a big game again..early at least he’s getting to the ball. Not many guys on ILL def we can say that about. Clay Nurse is a great name for an emo punk band. Maybe an indie emo punk band. “Dude I saw Clay Nurse when they were openers and unsigned 5 years ago man. Now they’re all corporate sounding man..since they play arenas these days. Clay Nurse sold out”
Illinois 0, Penn St. 0 1:41 left 1Q
The Illini defense deserves some credit for their start to this game, as they’ve done a really nice job of shutting down a good, if not great, Nittany Lion offense. They’re dynamic, and they do have a lot of weapons, but so far they aren’t looking anything other than shaky.
It’s difficult, at this point, to say whether or not they ARE just shaky or whether or not the Illini D is playing UP to their competition. Either is possible (though the former is more likely). No turnovers yet though for either side.
Something that is slightly depressing is that I’m thinking the Illini offense is looking lively, and that’s simply based on the fact they have 64 yards of total offense in the first quarter….PS
Illinois 0, Penn State 0 End 1Q
Well, for Illinois fans, you have to feel as though the first quarter was a success. You’re not down two scores already, you don’t look overmatched, and, for the first time this season against FBS competition, it looks like your team showed up ready to play today.
The offense has been a little sketchy, but don’t underestimate the effect of the wind and weather on today’s game. Illinois really didn’t effectively throw the ball into the wind, and Penn State’s Darryl Clark had a lot of trouble throwing the ball WITH the wind. It looks as though the running games of both teams are going to be extremely important this afternoon. PS
Penn State 7, Illinois 0 11 min 2nd qtr
Well, there you go, the first major offense of the day, as PSU’s 2nd back Stefon Green breaks off a 52 yd TD run. At least Illinois bottled up Evan Royster. the rain has been on and off, I agree that this battlefield’s contest will not be decided in the air, but on the ground. It’s a shame…cuz Juice Williams and Darryl Clark are essentially very similar. both dual threat QBs that have led their team to a Rose Bowl…both got destroyed by USC in that Rose Bowl. I was hoping for total offense show between the 2 today PMB
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 7:16 left 2Q
A beautiful pass over the middle to Rejus Benn (remember him??) for 49 yards — more than doubling Benn’s receiving yards for the season — set up first and goal for the Illini. Who promptly gained one yard and had to kick a field goal.
Juice Williams also became the total offense leader at Illinois with the Benn pass. Which proves just how meaningless that record really is. LONG LIVE KURT KITTNER! PS
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 2:28 left 2Q
Penn State is driving and just got an unfortunate call on an incomplete pass that they challenged, because the catch looked pretty good from where we were and on replay. Perhaps just not enough to overturn the call.
However, that may not matter as the Illini can’t seem to stop the Nits when they throw the ball.
Nice play by Donsay Hardeman over the middle on a deep ball though, and Illinois holds and will take over on their own 1 yard line with 1:31 remaining in the half. PS
PSU 7, ILL 3, 33 sec in half
Those were some good YACs there by Rejus. And now the pass sets up the run. Juice QB draw this IS what we signed on for. This is why we came down here on a 100 degree in August for Media Day to see offense like this drive, or the last one. PMB
Why did they just play Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places”? not really a football song. more like a drinking with pick-up trucks and gun racks song…
Dufrene looked almost Pierre Thomasesque on that run. Sort of.
I love this ref, and his authoritarian announcements. He’s the college Ed Hochuli.PMB
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 HALFTIME
Wild end to the first half as Penn State got a looooong run back on an interception on the last play of the half. Stephon Morris made that run back everything that it was, because the Illini had that pretty well contained around midfield.
Of course, he could have taken it back to the house and it wouldn’t have mattered because of the block in the back, but still.
All in all, if you’re an Illinois fan, coach, player or whatever, you have to feel really good about that first half of football. Solid job on defense (if not spectacular) and a nice effort on offense that got the Illini over 200 yards of offense in the first half. Arrelious Benn has 84 receiving yards already, continuing his assault of Penn State over his career here.
The rushing attack has been adequate for the Illini, but they’ve made their bones passing the ball and running an occasional option pitch. That’s what the offense needs to look like in the second half to remain successful.
Also, as a side note, the hurry-up was a nice addition this far, and has really kept Penn State on their heels thus far. PS
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 13:50 left 3Q
Quick post to say that the Illini kick coverage has been excellent today. Typically Penn State has moved the ball out of that field position easily, but still, it’s nice to start them backed up.
Nice 21 yard carry from Darryl Clark, easily the most confident he has looked with the ball today. Nits at midfield. PS
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 11:49 left 3Q
And the Illini get an all important hold! Wayne Ellington came in out of nowhere on Penn State’s Derek Moye and put his hat right on the ball to force a fumble, and Evan Frierson made the recovery. It’ll be first and ten Illini on their own 30.
It’s also important to note that this is the Illini’s quarter WITH the wind…look for Juice to come out passing early and often this quarter. PS
Penn State 7, Illinois 3 9:14 left 3Q
What looked like it could be good for the Illini has turned very, very bad…
First, the Illini’s last drive was 4 plays for -5 yards. Ouch.
Then, on 3rd and 6 in Penn State territory, their QB, Daryll Clark, ran a designed QB draw for 51 yards, deep into Illinois territory, and now the Nits are knocking on the door. A complete swing of momentum at Memorial Stadium, and it is very, very quiet in the stands here. PS
Penn State 14, Illinois 3 6:34 left 3Q
And as quiet as it was about a minute ago, you could hear a pin drop now. The crowd doesn’t even look like it is moving.
The score came on second down, a one-yard vertical dive from Daryll Clark, but the damage was truly done on his 51 yard scamper just three plays before. It was the longest run of Clark’s career.
The crowd isn’t even getting up for “Heyyyyyyyy Baby…” with the band…they sound defeated right now. Let’s hope the Illini have more fight. PS
PSU 14, Illinois 3 3:25 3rd qtr
Is that the same Wayne Ellington from UNC hoops? and the NBA Draft last year? Ever since ESPN started banging us over the head with Greg Paulus coverage, the idea has popped into my mind. Mehhhh. This game flew by in the 1st half. Getting more blah as it goes on though. Illini are getting hard to watch on offense PMB
Lions are running it right down Illini throats right now. UI running game? looks decrepit PMB
start of 4th qtr. Penn State 14, Illinois 3
PSU is right near the Illini goalline. A TD here pretty much seals the deal. Cuz an 18 pt lead in a game like this, is like a 40 pt lead in a regular game. PMB
TD State 17-3 now 14:28. And you can put a bow on this….Juice Williams HAS STILL NOT THROWN A TD PASS THIS SEASON! And we’re getting to Mid October!
Remember when Jim Everett of the early 90s L.A. Rams didn’t throw a TD pass until like week 8 or something crazy like that one year? And Wayne Gretzky didn’t score a goal for the Kings until unexpectedly late into the season? But still scored ahead of Everett, that’s how this feels? PMB over to you PS
Penn State 21, Illinois 3 12:43 left 4Q
I guess this is how that feels, PB, but I thought that those Rams teams won some games. That’s not exactly the greatest example. At least I don’t think. Plus I think they had Eric Dickerson or Jerome Bettis or someone at running back…they had people who could score for them.
Right now, the Illini don’t. Another uninspired 3 and out for the Illini, and Penn State just picked up 22 yards on their first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive. To put that in perspective, that’s more yards than the Illini have in the entire second half — only 16 for Illinois.
It should be mentioned that Ron Zook, at halftime, said that that last drive of the first half, the way it all went down, was deflating. That should have been a tip for how the Illini were going to come out in the second half — Deflated.
Also, Penn State outgained the Illini 208 yards to just eight in the third quarter. An all-around fail for the Illini.
This is going to wrap up our in-game content…I will be back with a post game summary and some comments from the presser. For now, this is shaping up as another Illini debacle. Truly a stomach punch for the team and the fans. PS
Penn State 28, Illinois 10 8:46 left 4Q
Ok, I lied….but Juice just threw his first TD pass of the season. I had to check in.
Of course it was against Penn State’s second string…and they were in a prevent defense…but still! His first TD pass of the year!!!
AND IT’S OCTOBER!!!!!!!!!!
Penn State 35, Illinois 17 FINAL
Sooo…I guess the Illini showed some life in the final minutes with the wind at their backs. That’s great. What I was looking for today was some life. In the end, it didn’t really matter, because they fell to 0-2 in Big Ten play, effectively ending the Big Ten season before it began.
All in all, the defense played pretty well, but was hung out to dry by an offense that didn’t wake up until the fourth quarter.
Again, from Champaign, your final was an underwhelming 35-17 victory for Penn State, effectively keeping them in the Big Ten race. PS
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