October 8, 2010

LBU Staff Predictions: Illinois at Penn State

Updated 11:00 p.m.
Nate Stupar and Pete Massaro
Penn State needs its edge rushing specialists,
like LB Nate Stupar (34) and DE Pete Massaro (59)
to have a strong game this week.
Our weekly prognosticating and score predictions. Maybe this week Penn State can has some winnage?

 Full Game Preview


I stated in my Blue & White Roundtable discussion this week that Penn State and Illinois are both at the bottom of the Big Ten in offense and both are near the top in Defense. Both teams are relatively evenly matched on special teams although the Fighting Illini have a great punter.

I honestly think with Penn State’s red zone problems this will be a close game and Wagner will probably have to bail us out yet again. Having said all that I think Penn State will win; Illinois blew their wad against Ohio State and I don’t expect them to play that good two weeks in a row.

Penn State 20 – Illinois 10


There won't be a hangover this week for Penn State. For Illinois, however, there's a big chance for one. The Illini were badly teased by Ohio State, as those pesky Buckeyes let the home team think they actually had a chance to win. Silly Illini. Penn State, meanwhile, pretty much gave away the Iowa game from the get-go. So there was no false hope. That's not to say this game won't be close at halftime. It very well could be similar to last year's edition of this matchup, when Penn State led just 7-3 at halftime, only to blow up for 28 points in the second half.

Rob Bolden should be able to have one of his best games yet, while I really like Penn State's chance to run the ball effectively. It may not be the 300-plus result like last year, but at least 200 team rushing yards is very possible. I won't be daring enough to call for a shutout, but this is the kind of offense the Penn State defense needs to face right now.

Penn State 28 - Illinois 5 (yes... FIVE)


Two questions have plagued Penn St this year: how late will the defense arrive to the game and what are we going to get out of the offense? The answers I see for Illinois are one sloppy drive by the defense to open the game and then they get their act together and the offense will open it up early but continue to be plagued by drops.

Despite that continuing issue, it eases up the run defense and the backs put on a show. Bolden adds a pair of td passes and the defense gets a score. Zook's Illinois seems to play Ohio St. tough most every year, similar to PSU's experiences in Northwestern games. Lions entertain the homecoming crowd, students never fill up and haters still hate after the game.

Penn State 34 - Illinois 13


Through five games, quarterback Rob Bolden has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions. The stats show he hasn't been too good as a quarterback so far. I agree, however there is a much more telling story. This offensive line has been absolutely atrocious. Plain and simple. It hasn't been good in run blocking and it hasn't been good pass protecting. That's not going to change any time soon. And this team will not compete at the level that the uneducated PSU fans expect them to until the line does improve.

That being said, this seems to be a week that lines up well for Penn State. The Illinois defense is shaky at best, and the offense isn't much better. The Illini did find a way play Ohio State tough, but really seem to be among the worst in the Big Ten. I don't think there is much better of an opponent Penn State can face after last week's Iowa game.

To me the only question of contention is can Royster break the record this week. He is 137 or so yards away. While I don't believe Curt Warner will be in attendance, how fitting will it be if he can do it with all the former PSU greats in the stands. I don't think he does it, but I think he has a solid game of over 80 yards rushing to help PSU roll to a victory.

The defense continues to play sol;id football, but fail to put forth a dominating performance once again.

Penn State 31 - Illinois 17


Supposedly, the team had a players-only meeting on Monday. They seem to realize the same thing us fans do, which is that the season is at a crossroad right now. Yes, most of us expected PSU to be 3-2 by this point, but the team has looked like a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team at best with its recent performances. Just to clarify: I don't think a players-only meeting by itself will cure PSU of its red zone scoring woes, nor will it make the D-line suddenly as formidable as Iowa's.

However, I do think the players will play with a collective chip on their shoulders and if that's the case, then perhaps this might be the weekend we see some breakout performances on both sides of the ball. This should certainly be the case, given that Illinois' defense while light years better than its been the previous two years, is still a work in progress, particularly in the secondary. This should give Rob Bolden a golden opportunity to remind everyone in Retardsville (i.e. message boards) why he won the starting job as a true frosh. Perhaps the D-line will finally get consistent pressure on an opposing QB, not to mention they will begin to tackle like real PSU football players do. Call me crazy, but I think PSU wins more handily than a lot of people (including Vegas and their 8-point spread) believe.

Penn State 27 - Illinois 10

Stay tuned later tonight for our weekly 11th Hour Depth Charting.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email


Post a Comment