Blog Entry

QUICK HITS: Penn State 10, Illinois 7

Posted on: October 29, 2011 7:30 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi

PENN STATE WON. Another week, another close win for Penn State, who rallied late to snatch a 10-7 victory from Illinois in the snowiest game ever played at Happy Valley. The game stayed scoreless amid myriad errors until Illinois scored with 3:32 left in the third quarter; from there, it was 10 straight Penn State points and the Nittany Lions hung on for the win.

HOW PENN STATE WON: Penn State just committed fewer errors on Saturday, and really, that's not saying a lot. Penn State had "only" three turnovers, while Illinois had four. Both teams scored one touchdown and lined up for two field goals. Penn State's Anthony Fera made one of his two attempts, while Illinois botched the hold on one field goal and the usually reliable Derek Dimke put his game-ending kick square on the upright. 

WHEN PENN STATE WON: When the ball went doink. Illinois took over the ball with just 1:08 on the clock, but Nathan Scheelhaase drove his team into field position with just the time he'd been given. A make puts the game into overtime, but alas, that was not to be.

WHAT PENN STATE WON: Penn State, somehow, is 8-1 on the season, with its only loss coming to Alabama early in the season. In some ways, Penn State could probably lay a claim to a Top 10 ranking based on its record and resume of opponents. It wouldn't be a strong claim, mind you, but the case could be made all the same. You'd think the magic would run out soon, but we're three-quarters of the way through the season; we're long past the point that this winning stops being an anomaly and starts being the story of Penn State's season.

And as for what Joe Paterno won, the venerable old coach just passed Grambling State legend Eddie Robinson to assume the Division I all-time record for most career coaching victories, with 409.

WHAT ILLINOIS LOST: Illinois may have lost its last chance to avert disaster. This was the Illini's third straight loss after a 6-0 start; with Michigan and Wisconsin looming next on the schedule, that slide could easily hit five straight games coming into a season finale at Minnesota that looks a little bit tougher today after the Gophers' win this week over Iowa.

THAT WAS CRAZY: In the second quarter, Illinois took advantage of a Rob Bolden fumble to take over the ball at Penn State's 24. The Illini quickly pushed the ball inside the PSU 5-yard line, and had a 3rd and goal at the 3. Jason Ford appeared to score on the next play, but Illinois was flagged for illegal motion and the touchdown was nullified. Nathan Scheelhaase threw an incomplete pass on the next play, and on 4th down, holder Tim Russell bobbled the snap, came up with it before Dimke could kick it, and threw an interception. The Illini were awarded no points, and may God have mercy on their souls.

Also, Bolden should not be taking one single snap away from Matt McGloin anymore, but you knew that.

Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:37 am

QUICK HITS: Penn State 10, Illinois 7

"Also, Bolden should not be taking one single snap away from Matt McGloin anymore, but you knew that."

Yes Yes Yes!  The entire 2nd quarter was a complete waste for the PSU offense.  And in a game with so few pts, they needed all the offense they could muster.  All you have to do is look at PSU's final drive to know that McGloin is better.  McGloin drove the team 80 yards with some key passes when it really mattered (like that spot on pass to Moye in the endzone that got the pass interference call; if that pass isn't on, the defender doesn't interfere and the game is over).   Contrast that with Bolden, who fumbled the ball away, and had all 4 of his passes tipped (or was it 3 tipped?), incomplete and very nearly intercepted. 

Penn State is winning with one of the best defenses in the country, and over the last month the running game has been one of the best.  If they can just stick with McGloin, they have a shot at winning the Big Ten.

PSU won't be top ten today, but if they beat Nebraska in two weeks, they should be really close to top ten.  And of course, if they keep winning the sky's the limit.

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