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[Live Blog] Penn State vs. Illinois

Good afternoon, Penn State fans! The Nittany Lions (6-4) are now bowl eligible, and look to reach the seven win mark, taking on Illinois in Champaign, IL. This game is a must win for Illinois (4-6), who must win the team’s final two games to become bowl eligible. We will have updates throughout the game on this page, including game analysis, photos, and more. Here’s the media information you’ll need, and here’s our staff’s game predictions. 

End of game: That’s it from Champaign. Illinois wins 16-14.

:08 4Q: The kick just slips in, and Illinois takes a 16-14 lead.

:50 4Q: The clock is winding down, and Illinois will attempt a chip shot for the win. Not looking too good right now, folks.

1:00 4Q: Two big completions later, and Illinois is on the 10 yard line with :56 left. The Illini need only a field goal.

2:31 4Q: Hackenberg keeps the ball on a rollout, but comes up a yard short on 3rd and 5, bringing up fourth and short. Franklin opts to punt, and Illinois will start on the 28 yard line with 1:48 remaining. 14-13 Penn State.

3:34 4Q: O’Toole’s pass falls incomplete on third down, and Beckman opts to kick a 50 yarder that goes wide left, giving Penn State optimal field position. 14-13 Penn State.

6:10 4Q: Anthony Zettel bats down O’Toole’s pass, but on the ensuing play Illinois picks up big yardage on a draw play. 2nd and 10 from about midfield.

8:18 4Q: Hackenberg hits Carter for a seven yard gain on first down, but a five men in the backfield penalty negates the pickup and moves the Nittany Lions back. Two runs later and it’s 3rd and 6. Akeel Lynch gets the ball a third consecutive time, and is stuffed well short of the first down marker. Penn State on to punt.

8:46 4Q: O’Toole floats a pass out of bounds after the pocket collapses, bringing on the Illinois field goal unit. The kick is good, making the score 14-13 Penn State.

10:41 4Q: Hull is back in the game, but Illinois is within striking distance. 1st and 10 from the 13 yard line.

12:19 4Q: 3rd and 2 here for Illinois, but that’s irrelevant right now. Mike Hull is having the training staff looking at his right arm. Aaron Bailey comes in at quarterback, coming up short. O’Toole comes back in to go for it on 4th and short. Flags everywhere, but somehow completes the pass. Defensive holding will give the Illini a first down.

13:37 4Q: Ficken’s kickoff goes out of bounds, giving Illinois the ball on the 35 yard line.

13:37 4Q: Touchdown Akeel Lynch! After taking the handoff up the middle, he makes a shifty cut, opening up nothing but 47 yards of daylight. 14-7 Penn State.

15:00 4Q: Hackenberg hits Jesse James off of play action, and picks up the first down. Lynch gains three yards on the ensuing play. 2nd and 7 here for Penn state, and the score is still 10-7 Illinois.

End of the 3rd quarter

2:51 3Q: Mike Gesicki gains seven yards on a rollout pass, bringing up 2nd and 3. Akeel Lynch short of the first down marker, bringing up 3rd and short for the Nittany Lions. Lynch picks up the first down from the wildcat.

4:36 3Q: Carl Nassib jumps offsides, making it 2nd and 7 for Illinois. Jordan Lucas stuffs the runner at the line, bringing up a big third down scenario.

6:00 3Q: After an Akeel Lynch run on second down, Hackenberg takes a big sack, forcing yet another Nittany Lion punt. Dudek will be brought down on the 27 yard line.

8:09 3Q: Mike Hull lays the lumber on Riley O’Toole, who is still in the game at quarterback for the Illini. Adrian Amos easily bats the ensuing pass down, and Illinois will punt.

9:56 3Q: Hackenberg goes deep downfield on first down, just missing Geno Lewis. Hamilton is engulfed for a big loss on the ensuing play, and Hackenberg is nearly intercepted. Not the team’s best series offensively. The punt team will come on to boot the ball away.

12:20 3Q: Grant Haley takes the ball to the 32 yard line, and DaeSean Hamilton gains 10 more on a jet sweep. Bill Belton is on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury.

15:00 3Q: After a special teams mishap, Illinois gains possession and drives down the field. The field goal unit comes on, and the kick is good. Illinois now leads 10-7.

Halftime: Penn State will get the ball to start the second half.

:25 2Q: O’Toole floats one into the end zone, finding his tight end Matt Lacosse for the touchdown. Extra point is good, and the score is tied up here in Champaign as we approach halftime. 7-7. James Franklin opts to kneel, and we will enter halftime all tied up.

:32 2Q: Dudek again, this time he nearly scores, but comes up short. 3rd and goal from the one yard line for the Illini, and head coach Tim Beckman calls a timeout. Big play coming up. Remember, this could be four down territory for Illinois.

:44 2Q: O’Toole hits wide receiver Mike Dudek over the middle, bringing up 1st and goal for the Illini. Marcus Allen has been picked on by O’Toole this series.

:58 2Q: O’Toole fires two consecutive completions, giving Illinois a first down on the 31 yard line. O’Toole misses his tight end in the end zone on the ensuing play.

1:56 2Q: Anthony Zettel jumps early, and Illinois will be given a new set of downs. O’Toole remains the quarterback, and the Illini are going with a no-huddle look with under two minutes remaining.

3:03 2Q: Penn State’s punt travels to the 32 yard line. The wind has been a major factor in the punting game today. Illinois quarterback Riley O’Toole comes into the game in relief of Wes Lunt. This was part of Illinois’ gameplay given Lunt’s injury history this season. O’Toole runs on three consecutive quarterback keepers, and will bring up fourth down. Illinois is 0/7 on third down today, and the score remains 7-0 Penn State.

5:08 2Q: Cole Chiappialle with the carry (!), and he will remain in the game on 3rd and 7. Hackenberg launches a prayer off his back foot with pressure in his face, but flags are down. A holding call will give the Nittany Lions a first down on the 33 yard line.

5:35 2Q: Lunt launches one deep on 3rd and 4, but the pass is dropped. Illinois flagged for multiple penalties on the play, but both penalties are declined by James Franklin. Illinois’ punt team takes the field.

6:48 2Q: Lynch is stripped as he tried to shake off a defender, and Illinois recovers the ball near midfield.

7:43 2Q: Akeel Lynch pucks up seven yards on a swing route, and it will be 3rd and 3. Low throw from Hackenberg will fall incomplete, but the Nittany Lions catch a break as Illinois is flagged for roughing the passer. 1st down Penn State.

9:01 2Q: Malik Turner of Illinois is unable to hold onto Lunt’s pass. Great coverage by Grant Haley, and Della Valle will field the punt. The Nittany Lions will take over on the 13 yard line.

10:11 2Q: Marcus Allen is flagged for holding as Lunt tried to go deep, and Illinois will move up to around midfield. Olaniyan brings down Lunt on 1st down, and will bring up 2nd and long for the Illini.

10:55 2Q: 11 yard pickup there for the Illini gives the team a first down. Wes Lunt airmails his next pass, and it will be 2nd and 10 for Illinois.

12:16 2Q: Deja vu here, as two consecutive runs bring up yet another third down situation. Akeel Lynch gets the ball up the middle, and is stuffed. Penn State will punt.

13:41 2Q: 3rd and 5 here for Penn State after two straight runs by Belton. Hackenberg hits a wide open Akeel Lynch for the first down.

14:49 2Q: Two straight incompletions by Lunt will bring up 3rd and 10 for Illinois. Lunt’s pass sails way over his receiver’s head, and Della Valle is back to field the punt. The big punt bounces into the end zone, and the Nittany Lions will take over on the 20 yard line.

End of 1st quarter.

:58 1Q: Hackenberg goes deep on first down, and just barely overshoots Hamilton. Lynch is stuffed on second down, and Hackenberg is sacked on the very next play. Five seconds will be added to the clock, and Penn State will punt with a favorable wind.

1:20 1Q: Three and out for Illinois, and the punt team is on again. Della Valle fields the punt at the 50 yard line.

3:43 1Q: 3rd and 3 for the Nittany Lions, after two consecutive handoffs to Akeel Lynch. Donovan opts to run again, and Lynch is stuffed short of the first. Ficken on to attempt. Gulla bobbles the snap, and the Nittany Lions will turn it over on downs. Still 7-0 Penn State.

6:02 1Q: FAKE PUNT! Brad Bars rumbles down the field, easily picking up the first down and putting the offense in the redzone.

6:17 1Q: Hackenberg fakes out the entire defense on play action, but Kyle Carter drops the easy pass. Hackenberg incomplete on 3rd and 10, and the punt team is on. Three and out for the Nittany Lions.

7:44 1Q: Illinois’ offense stalling on this drive, unable to move the ball. Lunt’s pass on third down comes up just short of the first, and it will be 4th and 1. Della Valle takes the punt to just short of midfield.

8:26 1Q: Touchdown Chris Godwin! A beautiful throw by Hackenberg to Godwin on a corner route puts the Nittany Lions on top 7-0. Godwin appeared to bobble the ball, but the extra point was kicked, so the play cannot be reviewed.

11:11 1Q: Akeel Lynch 11 yards up the middle for the first down! Lynch gets it again on the ensuing play, picking up six yards.

12:11 1Q: Hackenberg checks down to Belton on a swing route, and comes up just a yard short. Akeel Lynch takes the direct snap and picks up the first down.

14:00 1Q: Sack! C.J. Olaniyan comes in and brings down Lunt after Zettel forced the pocket to collapse. Illinois punts, and the Nittany Lions take over on the 48 yard line.

15:00 1Q: Penn State’s special teams unit looks sharp early, pinning Illinois on its own seven yard line.

11:50 a.m. — The Nittany Lions are on the field warming up now. Brandon Bell isn’t dressed today, but Trevor Williams is dressed and warming up after missing last week’s game.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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