Week 4 Illinois Opponent Preview: #10 Penn State University

B1G opener. Ranked opponent. And Friday night lights baby. There is nothing more you can ask for. Penn State will come to Illinois after winning their last three games 45-38, 51-6 and 63-10. It’s a tough draw for Illinois on what should be a packed house on a chilly September night.

Penn State Offense

They don’t have Saquon Barkley, but they still have Trace McSorely. McSorely has brought it this year with 603 yards and 5 TDs this year and 143 yards and 6 more TDs on the ground. Penn State has filled in Barkley’s role extremely well with SO RB Mark Allen and JR RB Miles Sanders who have a combined 394 yards and 4 TDs in 3 games. The bulk of the offense still lies with the production of McSorely. McSorely is throwing at an godly 15.4 yards a reception and 8 yards an attempt. Essentially, Penn State is averaging a 1st down every play through the air. Knowing the propensity of the Illini to allow massive yards through the air, Kent State: 270 yards and 6.6 YPA, Western Illinois: 295 yards and 7.0 YPA and USF: 411 yards and 10.3 YPA).

Penn State Defense

Illinois has an offense. Well kind of. There really isn’t a lot for Penn State to prepare for. The Illini have one attack and that is to run the ball. We will see that a lot on Friday and both Mike Epstein and Reggie Corbin have showed us…. wait this is the Penn State preview. Penn State is 2nd in the nation in sacks with 13 and 3rd in the nation for tackles for loss with 32 for 143 yards. Penn State however only has 4 turnovers gained. If there is any time the Illini O-line needs to man up its need to be this game.

Bottom Line

Illinois needs to 1. hold on to the ball and 2. win Time of possession. The Penn State offense can be turned on with a flip of the switch and the Illini defense can’t stop a lethal attack like they will face Friday. If Illinois can keep Trace McSorely and Co. off the field, they have a chance. (Probably not, but Friday night lights has me hyped up.)

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