How the Illini fared against Penn State
The Illini bogged down in the second half, pulled starting quarterback Juice Williams and compiled just five first downs after halftime. Illinois rushed for 216 yards, but the Illini passing game finished with only 120 yards.
After a weak first half, Illinois allowed big plays but only three points in the second half. Interceptions by J Leman, Vontae Davis and Kevin Mitchell grabbed interceptions to end Nittany Lions scoring threats.
Special teams: A-
Arrelious Benn electrified the crowd with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Illinois covered kicks well, although there were problems with the punting game. Freshman punter Anthony Santella averaged just 33.3 yards on six attempts.
OK, so the only reason why Penn State is ranked is that 80-year-old coach with 366 wins on the sidelines. Nevertheless, Illinois provided an obvious turning point for a program that won eight games over the last four years. On the bright side for coach Ron Zook, the Illini can play much better.