The last time Penn State faced off against Illinois, it was October and it was snowing at Penn State. Do you remember the game? I do. Hardly anyone was in the stands to see Joe Paterno win get victory #409, his last, to pass Eddie Robinson as the all-time leader in Division 1 coaching victories. Oh, the NCAA can say the win was vacated, but I was there, and I know Penn State won the game on the field with a Silas Redd 3 yard TD scamper. It was one of the sports highlights of my life!
As I digress, Penn State enters the 2012 Big Ten slate riding the crest of a two-game winning streak. They look to make it three games in a row when they travel to Champaign-Urbana to take on the Fighting Illini. This game also marks Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien’s first game in the Big Ten as well as Illini head coach Tim Beckman’s first conference game.
The last time the Nittany Lions took to the road, they went to Charlottesville, VA and played the Cavaliers of Virginia. They came away from the game with a loss, and needing to fix some glaring holes, especially in the special teams category, but they also found a defensive pass rush and the ability to generate a pass rush.
In order for the Nittany Lions to escape Illinois with a win, they are going to have to employ the same tactics as they did at Virginia…but this time they have to make the field goals!
Even though I will not be attending tomorrow’s game, here’s what I will be watching for: