Penn State vs. Illinois
Time: Noon, EST, Sat
Spread: PENN -1
M/L: PENN -115, ILL -105
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
I wrote in week one that this Penn State team would miss Silas Redd to their detriment. It showed the first two weeks, in losses to Ohio and Virginia, but last week they notched a big victory over Temple, and they viciously disposed of the Navy 34-7 in week three.
In the victory over Temple, Nittany Lions’ QB Matt McGloin threw for a career high 318 yards, while completing two-thirds of his passes. He did launch an interception, but his QB rating on the year is 138. The 6’1″ senior has raised his completion percentage from the 54 percent it was as a sophomore and junior, to 59 percent this year.
Sophomore Zach Zwinak burst onto the scene last week for Penn State, despite little action prior to his 94 yard, 18 carry game. Penn State will need contributions like this from their youngsters. Senior Michael Zordich is the leading rusher, and has turned in two big games now, of 75 and 50 yards. Penn State is desperate for a solid answer at running back, because McGloin is good enough to keep the offense charging in the air.
The story at receiver has been Allen Robinson, who has caught 29 passes for 404 yards, over twice as many as the second leading receiver on the team (Kyle Carter, 190). Robinson has been nearly unstoppable, as the 6’3″ junior has the length and athleticism to do a lot of great things while playing for a program that needs young talent to regain their status among the elite programs. Robinson is only a sophomore, and he barely played last year as a true freshman. Against Navy, he had 136 yards on five receptions.
Penn State’s defense still ranks in the top fifth of all programs, 23rd, allowing just 15.3 points per game. They’re just going to have to find a way to improve their rushing if they want to up their scoring output, which at this point is a mere 22 points per game.
Illinois is 2-2 now after losing to Louisiana Tech at home last Saturday 52-24.
The Fighting Illini couldn’t keep possession of the ball last week, and turned it over six times. Tech led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter, after three Illinois’ turnovers. It was never close at any point following that.
Colby Cameron featured Quinton Patton heavily in the offense, as the WR caught six passes for 164 yards and two TDs. QB Reilly O’Toole was sacked five times. Sophomore running back Donovonn Young accounted for a lot of the possessions, and he was good already last year as a freshman, when he ran for 451 yards and six TDs.
Young is not showing any signs of the lingering foot injury he suffered in the spring, and appears to be the reason that Illinois is still only a one point underdog to a vaunted Penn State squad.
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