Penn State's only real bright spot was Akeel Lynch, who accounted for 170 of the Nittany Lions 265 yards of total offense (135 rushing 35 receiving) including a 47 yard run for a touchdown.
So many things. Penn State had a chance to go up 14-0 but had to settle for a field goal attempt (which would have made it 10-0) but a bad snap cost the Nittany Lions points off the scoreboard. Despite throwing for his first touchdown in three games, Christian Hackenberg was held to under 100 yards and threw for just 50%. Illinois also ranked 106th in the nation in points given up with 34.0, but held the Nittany Lions to just 14 points
Turnovers and miscues. Akeel Lynch did have one minor hiccup. On 2nd & 10 in the 2nd quarter, Lynch picked up a first down but was stripped of the ball in the process. On the 2nd half kickoff, Penn State misread the kick that allowed the Illini to fall on top of the ball and take possession at the Nittany Lion 28. Illinois ended up scoring a field goal on the drive.
Questionable Play call
With 4 & 1 with 1:53 remaining Penn State decided to punt the ball rather than go for it and try to win the game there. James Franklin decided to put the game in the defense's hands, but the Illini offense had moved the ball quite efficient in the 4th quarter (98 yards in 2 drives) and in three plays the Illinois offense drove 56 yards that would set up the game winning field goal.