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Gameday Coverage: Penn State vs. Illinois

Penn State visits Illinois Saturday at noon in Champaign (or at 11 a.m. if you’re at the game) for quite possibly the least anticipated matchup on the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten slate. James Franklin leads his Nittany Lions into Illinois on a two-game winning streak, after beating Temple 30-13 last week in Beaver Stadium.

Illinois dominates the offensive stats, averaging more rushing yards, passing yards, and four points a game more than Penn State. As has been a trend this year, Penn State’s defense statistically outperforms its opponents. The Nittany Lions have 11 more interceptions and 10 more sacks than the Illini.

Below is all of the media information you’ll need for the game:

Kickoff: 12 p.m. Eastern Time, 11 a.m. in Champaign

Television: ESPN2 — Matt Millen, Bob Wischusen, Quint Kessenich

Radio: Penn State Sports Network — Steve Jones, Jack Han, and Loren Crispell. Local: 93.7 FM, and 1450 AM. Sirius: Ch. 84. XM: Ch. 84

Weather: It’ll be warmer in Illinois than the winter-like temperatures in State College this past week. It should be 50 degrees at kickoff and hover in the fifties throughout the day. It’ll be breezy with drizzles throughout the day, much like the weather two weekends ago when Penn State played in Indiana.

Last Time they Met: Penn State racked up 250 rushing yards en route to a 24-17 overtime victory over Illinois. Sam Ficken forced overtime with a field goal after a Bill Belton goal line fumble appeared to end the game for Penn State. Hackenberg found Carter in the end zone during the extra session, and Ryan Keiser secured the win with a game-winning interception.

Injuries: It appears that Penn State will be at its healthiest point in several weeks. Miles Dieffenbach had an effective game against Temple, and Donovan Smith has returned as well. Illinois’ Wes Lunt fractured his leg earlier this year but will be playing against Penn State. Still, Franklin suggested his mobility will be limited.

Media Coverage: Be sure to follow both @OnwardState and @OnwardStSports to receive the full game experience. Our main account will tweet photos, big plays, and other interesting information throughout the game, and our sports-specific account will tweet play-by-play, stats, and analysis. You can also follow along with the game on our Facebook page, and on our live blog.

Alex Robinson will be providing analysis from his couch. For updates from, follow Ben Jones and Mike Poorman.

A recap of our coverage from throughout the week, and coverage from, can be found below:

Onward State:

Staff Predictions

Franklin no Stranger to Illini QB Wes Lunt

Franklin talks Keiser’s Return, Handling the Media

Franklin Eighth-Highest Paid NCAA Football Coach After Raise

A Healthy Ryan Keiser Returns to State College

Akeel Lynch: Rising to the Occasion

Freshmen Defensive Backs Stand Out on Stellar Defense

Previewing Illinois

Popping Champaign: Penn State’s Record Ranks No. 43 Since Mauti’s Pick

Rest, Nutrition, and Taking it Easy All Part of Surviving Long Season

Podcast: Illinois Edition

Run Game Success a Group Effort

James Franklin News Conference Updates

Hackenberg’s Struggled Require Patience More than Criticism

Penn State’s Players Offer Compliments for Complimentary Football

About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA


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