Penn State vs. Illinois Game Prediction
As Penn State comes off its bye week, it looks to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Nittany Lions are currently 5-1 and ranked No. 7 in the nation, retaining that spot after their bye week.
Meanwhile the Fighting Illini have had a less-than-optimal season so far, as they only have two wins this season, those coming against Charlotte and Nebraska. With their five losses on the season, it’s pretty safe to say that they are nowhere close to being in contention for the Big Ten title.
While this matchup seems to have all the makings of a blow out, Penn State will have a severe handicap in this game, and his name is Ta’Quan Roberson. After Sean Clifford was injured in the game against Iowa, Roberson came in as his replacement and did less than stellar for a Division-I backup.
Roberson was unable to get plays off and was not used to the hostile crowd of Iowa. If Penn State is to run away with this game, then it will need to see Roberson step up big time. Roberson needs to recognize the opportunity he has and grasp it. If he can figure out how to move the ball down the field, and not just by running it, then this game could very well turn into a blow out in favor of Penn State — that is if he starts.
According to James Franklin, Christian Veilleux has been splitting reps at practice this week so there is a chance that Roberson doesn't take the field.
Illinois’ offense will face a huge task this week that it very well may not be able to overcome in Penn State’s dominant defense. Penn State undoubtedly has one the best defenses in the country including the third-best red zone defense in the nation.
Illinois quarterback Arthur Sitkowski will more than likely have to prepare for a good couple of hits from the Penn State defense. The rush game could be the only thing that moves the ball down field, so look for Illinois running back Chase Brown to maybe be able to break away for some large gains. Look for Illinois to struggle to move the ball down field and for the Penn State defense to have a field day in terms of sacks and turnovers.
Overall, this should be almost a scrimmage for Penn State as it will undoubtedly be looking past this game by halftime as it has bigger fish to fry next week as it takes on Ohio State in Columbus.
The Penn State defense should dominate Illinois’ offense and should make it next to impossible to get the ball down field. Look for lots of turnovers forced by Penn State. If Penn State can get whichever backup quarterback that starts in a rhythm, and can get passes downfield, this should be a blowout in favor of Penn State and will give it much-needed confidence as it faces Ohio State away next week.
Score prediction: 42-7 Penn State
Ethan Ellis is a first-year student majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org