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[Live Blog] Penn State vs. Illinois

Good afternoon from sunny Beaver Stadium where Penn State (4-3, 1-2) is set to face off against the budding rival Illinois Fighting Illini (3-4, 0-3). Penn State will look to improve on its 16-4 all-time record against the Illini this afternoon. We will have game information throughout the day on this page, including updates, game analysis, photos, and more. Sports editor Zach Berger is in the press box while photographers Mitchell Wilston and Robert “Bobby” Chen will be on the field taking photos.

3:29 p.m. — And Ryan Keiser intercepts a pass on the first play of Illinois’ possession to seal the deal! Penn State wins 24-7!

3:25 p.m. — TOUCHDOWN, PENN STATE!!! On 3rd-and-11, Hackenberg fires a bullet to Kyle Carter in the end zone for the score.

3:23 p.m. — Bill Belton runs for a touchdown but Jesse James is caught holding on the play.

3:16 p.m. — SACK! Anthony Zettel gets to Nathan Scheelhaase for an 11-yard loss. Illinois lets the clock run out. We’re going to overtime.

3:11 p.m. — Facing a second down three yards shy of the first down marker, Hackenberg twice throws to Brandon Felder in the end zone. The first ball goes through Felder’s hands and the second is nearly picked off. Sam Ficken came on to attempt a 35-yard field goal that went right down the middle to tie the game at 17-17.

3:06 p.m. — A line drive punt takes an Illinois bounce and stops on the 50-yard line. Penn State takes over with 1:44 left in the game.

3:04 p.m. — Illinois is now facing a 3rd-and-9 from its own 3-yard line. The defense needs to come up with a stop here to give Penn State a chance.

3:01 p.m. — On third down, Bill Belton carries and fumbles on the 1-yard line. Illinois recovers with 3:23 to go in the game.

2:58 p.m. — Hackenberg attempts a bomb down the left sideline to Allen Robinson. He looked to have caught it, but it’s ruled incomplete. Review coming. And it’s overturned!

2:56 p.m. — Christian Hackenberg connects with Richy Anderson for a first down and then some. The offense is at midfield. It needs a score here.

2:53 p.m. — Penn State can’t make the stop and a few plays later, Illinois scores a touchdown. Scheelhaase is nearly sacked but throws to Josh Ferguson who runs seven yards into the end zone for a score.

2:49 p.m. — A big play coming up for the Penn State defense here. Illinois faces a 3rd-and-10 on the Nittany Lions 22-yard line. There’s 6:26 left to play in the game.

2:43 p.m. — Facing a 3rd-and-15, Bill Belton carries for just six yards and Alex Butterworth will come on to punt.

2:39 p.m. — And Illinois is penalized for running into the kicker! Penn State retains control of the ball and gets five yards and a first down.

2:37 p.m. — The offense can’t get anything going and will punt from its own 31-yard line.

2:34 p.m. — Nathan Scheelhaase completed a pass to Matt LaCosse one yard shy of the first down, giving the Illinois offense a 4th-and-1 from the 4-yard line. Scheelhaase attempted a pass to the end zone on fourth down, but Mike Hull dove in front of the ball and broke up the pass to give Penn State control on a turnover on downs.

2:22 p.m. — Illinois converted the first down on a pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to Steve Hull. At the end of three quarters, Penn State leads 14-10.

2:19 p.m. — The Illini offense faces a 3rd-and-2 on the Penn State 29-yard line. The Nittany Lions call a timeout.

2:14 p.m. — Penn State stays on the field for 4th-and-1 one play after a Christian Hackenberg keeper is stopped hsort. Bill Belton carries up the middle and is tackled shy of the first down marker. A turnover on downs gives Illinois the ball on its own 39-yard line.

2:06 p.m. — Touchdown Illinois. Josh Ferguson runs eight yards for the score. The extra point is good and Penn State leads 14-10.

2:02 p.m. — Illinois is moving downfield here in the middle of the third quarter. It has a first down just past midfield.

1:59 p.m. — The offense stalls and has to punt. Illinois comes down with a fair catch at its own 12-yard line.

1:53 p.m. — The second half is underway and the Penn State offense is driving. Three first down conversions have the unit on the Illinois 35-yard line.

1:31 p.m. — A roughing the passer penalty as time expired allowed Illinois one last play from the 2-yard line. A chip-shot field goal gave the Illini their first points of the game. At halftime, the Nittany Lions lead 14-3. Christian Hackenberg was 10-for-14 with 107 yards passing in the first half. Allen Robinson has 94 yards receiving.

1:21 p.m. — Illinois has a 1st-and-goal from the Penn Sate 2-yard line with less than a minute to go in the first half.

1:14 p.m. — The offense stalls just past midfield and Alex Butterworth executes a picture-perfect punt that is downed at the 2-yard line.

1:08 p.m. — Jordan Lucas comes up with a massive hit near the sideline to break up a first down pass. Illinois will punt after a three-and-out. He has played much better than he did in the first few games of the season.

1:02 p.m. — A tripping penalty pushes the offense back 15 yards and it can’t get another first. Sam Ficken missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right.

12:59 p.m. — Bill Belton carries up the middle on fourth down and easily picks up the first.

12:56 p.m. — Penn State faces a 4th-and-3 on the Illinois 28-yard line. It looks like the offense will be staying on the field to go for it.

12:51 p.m. — The defense comes up big again, stopping another Illinois drive short. The punt team is on the field. Jesse Della Valle calls for a fair catch and the offense will start with solid field position at its own 38-yard line.

12:48 p.m. — Hackenberg’s decision-making has been questionable at times, but not there. He saw the lane, didn’t think twice, and ran it for the score.

12:43 p.m. — TOUCHDOWN PENN STATE!!! Christian Hackenberg sees a lane and dives into the end zone for the score. The play will be reviewed as Hackenberg lost the ball, but he appeared to cross the plane first. And no surprise as the ruling is confirmed within 30 seconds of the review beginning.

12:41 p.m. — And Penn State converts a 4th-and-1 attempt. Belton takes it wide left and gets the first down and more, making it the 4-yard line.

12:35 p.m. — Hackenberg finds Robinson on another third down conversion to keep the drive alive in Illinois territory. They’ve hooked up quite a few times in this first quarter. Hackenberg has completed six passes. Five of them are to Robinson. The other is to Bill Belton. Including Hackenberg, three Nittany Lions have touched the ball on offense at the end of the first quarter.

12:32 p.m. — On 3rd-and-5, Hackenberg hits Robinson on a bubble screen who miraculously finds his way past multiple defenders for a first down. He looked to be dead at or just behind the line of scrimmage but he did that Allen Robinson thing that he does and made it happen.

12:29 p.m. — Bill Belton is running strong in the first quarter. He has 7 carries for 49 yards already.

12:23 p.m. — And what would have been a long, long touchdown pass is wiped out by a chop block. The Nittany Lions go on to hold off Illinois and force a punt. The offense will take over at its own 18-yard line.

12:21 p.m. — The Illini are into Penn State territory on their next drive. They have converted a pair of third downs.

12:14 p.m. — Bill Belton is proving himself as the starter right now. If he keeps this up, Zwinak won’t see much playing time again this year.

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12:12 p.m. — TOUCHDOWN PENN STATE! Bill Belton goes wide left for the score from five yards out. The Nittany Lions lead 7-0 early in this one.

12:08 p.m. — Hackenberg finds Allen Robinson on a short bubble screen on third down. Robinson turned it into a 47-yard gain. The Nittany Lions are in the red zone.

12:06 p.m. — INTERCEPTION! Jordan Lucas comes up big and picks off a deflected pass to fend off the Illini in the red zone. Lucas saved the day there after a poor start by the Penn State defense.

12:04 p.m. — Penn State won the opening coin toss and deferred. Illinois has quickly driven down to the Penn State 20-yard line.

11:35 p.m. — We are just 25 minutes away from kickoff here at Beaver Stadium. We have a lot of empty seats, but they’re sure to start filling up quickly as we approach game time.

On the injury front, there is nobody other than those already ruled out for the season listed, so we have a healthy Nittany Lions team on the field today. Christian Hackenberg looks to be fine after injuring his shoulder against Ohio State and has no brace or wrap on. I’ll be keeping you posted all game long, so stay tuned!

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a StateCollege.com reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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