Saturday, September 29, 2012

Penn State vs. Illinois Game Review

     Going into this game, there was no love lost for Penn State concerning Illinois, as Illinois was primarily one of the schools to take advantage of the sanctions imposed on Penn State and there were reports that Illinois appeared on campus to recruit players.  Before the game, Bill O'Brien didn't even shake hands with Illinois coach Ted Beckman, showing the animosity felt towards Illinois and the coaching staff.

    Penn State started the game out with the ball, Illinois' Defense forced the Nittany Lions to a 3 & out and looked to gain momentum with a good defensive stop. However on the punt, Tommy Davis muffed the ball and Penn State recovered, allowing the offense to continue being on the field from Davis' miscue. Penn State was able to go into the redzone and drive all the way inside the 10 until they were forced to kick a Field Goal.  Sam Ficken was able to connect on the field goal and it appeared the Illini Defense was able to hold them to a FG. However, another Illinois miscue once again gave Penn State's offense a second chance for a shot at the endzone after a roughing the kicker penalty. Two plays later Zack Zwinak punched it into the endzone from the one yard line to give Penn State a 7-0 lead.

    Penn State's Defense held Illinois to a 3 & out and on their next possession, Penn State continued to take advantage of Illinois costly penalties when a helmet to helmet hit was called on a pass play where Penn State gained 10 yards and was granted an extra 15 yds. after the penalty. Matt McGloin continued to lead the Nittany Lions down field with efficient passing and capped off the scoring drive with McGloin himself sneaking the ball into the endzone giving Penn State a 2 TD advantage.

  The 2nd Quarter would again produce another Penn State scoring drive that was anchored by a good running game from Zack Zwinak and Matt Mcgloin put a ribbon and bow on by hitting Matt Lehman over the middle on a Play Action to give Penn State a 21-0 lead.

    The Illini looked to produce a scoring drive of their own right before the end of the half when Mike Mauti (who was one of the more vocal players that opposed Illinois tactics of trying to recruit Penn State players) intercepted the ball at the one and took all the way down for what at first appeared to be a touchdown, but after further review his knee came down on the 1 prior to breaking the plain of the endzone. Fickens then attempted a field goal which was blocked. Nonetheless, Penn State stopped Illinois from putting points on the board.

   The 3rd quarter saw the only points Illinois would score on the day when Nathan Scheelhaase threw a backwards pass to Josh Ferguson who then threw to a wide open Spencer Harris to cut into Penn States lead.  However, much like the first half, the second half also belonged to Penn State.

  Penn State would get another scoring drive that was lead by a quality passing game of McGloin and solid running game of Zack Zwinak that ended with another 1yd TD on a QB sneak by Penn State.

  With the fourth quarter beginning, Penn State was once again driving the ball and this time being heavily orchestrated by Zack Zwinak's strong running game as he had 31 yards rushing on the scoring drive, which was finished of by Zwinak himself for a 1 yd. TD run.

     Illinois would get the ball two more times but couldn't do anything with it. Illinois miscues, costly penalties, and it's incapability to muster much offense allowed Penn State to just steamroll all over them as Illinois never put up much of a fight.

     Penn State got the win and is now a game above .500 after starting out 0-2. The win was against Illinois was even more satisfying considering the controversy that surrounded around Illinois having coaches recruiting players from Penn State after the sanctions that were handed down to them, which allowed players to transfer to other schools without having to sit out a whole year.

   Bill O'Brien would however meet Ted Beckham in the middle of the field to shake hands, but it was more of a protocol of a handshake as both coaches didn't stop to actually take the time to talk for a second and wish each other good luck the rest the way, and I think it's safe to say that these two won't be sending Christmas cards to one another.

Players of the Game

1. Zack Zwinak- 19 carries, 100 yds, 2 TD
2. Mike Mauti- 2INT 1FF
3. Matt McGloin- 18 of 30, 211 yds passing, 1 TD (3 total)

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