Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Preview and Pick

#22 Illinois Fighting Illini +14 (2-1, 0-1 ATS) at #12 Penn State Nittany Lions -14 (4-0, 3-0 ATS) University Park, PA. Beaver Stadium (107,282) 8:00 p.m. EST

By Wilson of

Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions will host the Fighting Illini of Illinois on Saturday at Beaver Stadium in a battle of two AP top twenty-five teams.

The Fighting Illini beat Penn State last year 27-20, but this years game may be a different story as the Nittany Lions are currently one of the Nations highest scoring teams. Penn State has scored a combined 211 points in four games to their opponents 40 points. The Nittany Lions are averaging 52.3 points per game, and only allowing their opponents 10 points per game!

Penn States last game was against Temple, which was another lopsided victory as they rolled to a 45-3 win. The only set back in the game was the fact that the Nittany Lions fumbled the ball five times! Joe Paterno was extremely irritated regarding the turnovers, and after the game he said I thought it was a very, very sloppy performance. Paterno continued to say that he was not pleased, no matter what the outcome of the game.

Penn State QB Daryll Clark was 13-of-20 for 196 yards and a touchdown although he did have one interception. Running back Stephon Green carried the ball 9 times for 132 yards; one of those carries was a 69 yard TD run.

The Lions are favored by 14 points and have covered the spread in 3 games this year while the Fighting Illini are 0-1 ATS.

Illinois comes into Saturdays game after having a week off to prepare as they last played on September 13 in a win over La.-Lafayette 20-17. The Illini were supposed to use this game as a momentum game but it turned out to be a hold-on and get the win type of game. The team played with little emotion against La.-Lafayette and head coach Ron Zook was very disappointed in his teams mind set. My guess is that the bye week was productive for Illinois because Penn State is killing teams right now and Illinois better be ready to play.


Illini QB Juice Williams (another great football name!) was 13-of-25 for 147 yards and a TD, but he even agreed that they needed to put up more numbers. Running back Daniel Dufrene had 19 carries for 126 yards. However, the Illini know they must simply play better against the Nittany Lions.

Both teams are averaging over 460 yards in total offense, but Penn State clearly holds the advantage on the scoreboard with their nearly 53 points per game.

Defensively, Penn State has allowed 10 points per game while the Fighting Illini has averaged giving up 30 points per game.

Penn State is undefeated and has yet to be tested. Illinoiss only loss was to Missouri 52-42, and Missouri is ranked in the top ten. This game should be a good one if both teams show up to play.

Beaver Stadium is a tough place to come into and steal a win. Joe Paterno also moved into first place for most wins with his 376th win last week against Temple. Paterno knows how to win, and hes hard-nose football old school baby! Lets just see if he can stand on that leg for the entire game as last week he had to retreat to the booth with a sore limb.

Wilsons Pick: Penn State is too much for Illinois. I like the Nittany Lions to win 45-21.