October 7, 2010

10 Minutes Or Less: 2006 Penn State vs. Illinois

The 2006 meeting between Penn State and Illinois and this year's meeting have a lot in common: PSU was coming off a rough loss in primetime the week before (Michigan won 17-10 at Beaver Stadium and knocked out both Anthony Morelli and Daryll Clark, forcing Paul Cianciolo into his few minutes of meaningful action) and carried a hangover into a Noon Homecoming contest at home against an Illinois team who on paper, looked like a pushover.

As a young, scrappy, Illini team would prove however, such was not the case. Only a great hustle play by Justin King to track down and tackle tailback Rashard Mendenhall 10 yards from the end zone on a run that started at Illinois' own 10 yard line saved PSU from a likely upset. PSU managed a goalline stand following that run, holding Illinois to one of four field goals they racked up that day. All Illinois likely needed that day was just one measley touchdown in order to win the game. PSU's offense played like garbage throughout, as the offensive line struggled to block and the playcalling consisted of QB14 (i.e. Anthony Morelli) throwing crappy 3-yard swing passes to his receivers or running "toss sweeps" to Derrick Williams that would consistently get blown up behind the line of scrimmage.

Like most contests from that forgettable 2006 season, the defense once again led the way by coming up with a couple of interceptions (courtesy of Anthony Scriotto) and a brilliant "Strip, Scoop, and Score" play by Paul Pozluszny and Tony Davis. This game serves an eerie reminder of what could potentially happen this weekend as once again, Ron Zook brings a young and inexperienced team led by promising young talent in QB Nathan Scheelhaase and RB Mikel LeShoure that surely sees this as their best opportunity in a while to get that elusive win at Penn State. Let's hope that PSU has fixed its red zone woes and that the defense will finally learn how to play for 60 minutes instead of 45. Otherwise, this year's Noon Homecoming edition of PSU-Illinois could be just as agonizing as its 2006 counterpart*

*Actually, it won't be since Pam Ward isn't announcing. Instead, we've got Bob Wischusen and Brian Greise. That's not saying much, though.

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1 comment:

  1. Jeremy Kapinos' greatest game. Without him continuously pinning the Illini deep in their own territory this game could have been a lot scarier.