Expect Penn State to Push Illinois Around Like a Shopping Cart
Penn State will be looking to avenge last week's loss to Iowa in Happy Valley.
Illinois has the daunting task of hosting the angry Nittany Lions, and after watching the Fighting Illini through three games, they are in for a lot of trouble.
Penn State's offensive line will look better than they actually are this week. The Nittany Lions faithful should not get excited about a blowout in Champaign because Illinois is one of the worst college football teams in America.
Illinois' defense ranks 90th in America and 10th in the Big Ten.
Offensively, they lack big play-making, scoring just 9 total points in two games versus Division One-Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. The Illini offense ranks 81st nationally and 10th in the Big Ten.
Meanwhile, the Penn State defense is still one of the most feared in America. It ranks first in the Big Ten and ninth in the country.
Illinois quarterback Isaiah "Juice" Williams threw for just 77 yards in a shutout loss last week at Ohio State. In two starts, Williams has zero touchdowns but three interceptions.
Williams missed all but the first series of the Illinois home-opener versus Illinois State with a quadriceps injury. Backup quarterback Eddie McGee replaced him, completed 76.5% of his passes, passed for a score and ran in two more touchdowns.
Granted, QB McGee torched a pretty porous Illinois State squad in a glorified interstate scrimmage, but if Williams struggles early on, Penn State could get a glimpse of what McGee has to offer.
The coming quarterback controversy is due to the fact that Williams has actually played poorly since the 2007 season where he led Illinois to the Rose Bowl.
Illinois's offense stands no chance against the Penn State defense and a second consecutive shutout for Illinois may be inevitable.
For Penn State, the task at hand will be improving the play of the offensive line. It will look much better against an Illinois defense that does not have a player with more than one sack on the year. The defense has a total of four sacks collectively.
Penn State will manhandle an Illinois team that has gone 3-6 in Big Ten play since 2007. In their last four games versus top 25 opponents, Illinois is 0-4.
Running back Evan Royster only has one game of 100 rushing yards or more on the season. As a matter of fact, he has topped 70 rushing yards just once this season, the time he ran for 134 yards against Temple.
Royster will be the focal point of the offense as the offensive line will need to further improve their cohesiveness. He will shoulder the burden of the offense so that Daryll Clark can find time to throw and keep the Illinois defense guessing.
Clark will have to take advantage of the Illini defense by using the middle of the field.
At the end of the day, Penn State will roll over Illinois but fans from Happy Valley should not get too excited as their next test does not come until October 24 at Michigan.
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