Penn State vs. Illinois fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Friday, September 21
Game Time: 9:00 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Penn State (3-0) vs. Illinois (2-1) Game Preview
One Reason Why Penn State Will Win
The offense is rolling.
Trace McSorley might be a wee bit inconsistent – he’s never going to be Aaron Rodgers in terms of accuracy – but he’s cranking up really, really big plays, averaging close to 14 yards per pass with three scores against Kent State.
The Illinois offense did what it could against USF last week – and it almost pulled out the win, missing one big late defensive stop – but it’s having problems on third downs and there’s just no passing game.
It’s not an Illini offense that can keep up the pace if McSorley and the Nittany Lions can get out to a hot start. With the Big Ten’s best pass rush so far, Penn State should be able to get to MJ Rivers – if AJ Bush can’t go – against an Illinois line that’s dead last among Big Ten teams in sacks and tackles for loss allowed.
One Reason Why Illinois Will Win
So how is Illinois staying alive in games? The defense is taking the ball away, and the running game isn’t bad.
The Illini D isn’t a rock – especially against the pass – but the team leads the Big Ten in turnover margin, helped by seven takeaways in the first three games. The O has yet to throw a pick, and the offense has put up over 200 rushing yards in each of the first three games.
Penn State might be explosive, but it hasn’t been consistent offensively, the team commits too many penalties, and the six giveaways so far haven’t helped.
At the very least, the Illini will win the time of possession battle. However …
What’s Going To Happen
Illinois can’t throw, and it can’t stop the pass. McSorley and company will rip through the Big Ten’s worst defense with big play after big play opening it up with a big second quarter scoring run.
The Illini running game will be plucky, and the defense will come up with two takeaways, and then it’ll get out of hand in the fourth quarter. McSorley will keep the Heisman talk rolling with a 300-yard day in front of a national crows on a Friday night.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Penn State 40, Illinois 13
Line: Penn State -28, o/u: 59.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2.5
Must See Rating: 2
1: Murphy Brown