Penn State returned to Beaver Stadium, and for the third straight time in Big 10 play at home, claimed an overtime victory. PSU rallied late to tie the game at 17 late in regulation. Kyle Carter’s 11 yard touchdown catch from Christian Hackenberg proved to the be the winning play once Ryan Keiser intercepted a deflected pass on the Illini’s first play of their possession. There were plenty of standout performances on both sides of the ball, but here are our players of the game.
Offense: Bill Belton 36 carries, 201 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 8 yards
A week after Zack Zwinak lost his 5th fumble in as many games, Bill Belton more than made the most of his first start in the PSU backfield since last year’s opener versus Ohio. The 36 carries and 201 yards were both career highs. Those 201 yards also made Belton the first Lion running back to put up more than 200 yards since Larry Johnson had 279 yards against Michigan State in the 2002 season ender. It wasn’t all perfect for Belton, who did fumble reaching for what would have been a go-ahead score late in the 4th quarter. He showed no ill effects, however, playing a key role in both the game tying drive late in regulation, as well as the game winning drive in overtime. In fact, he scored what would have been the go-ahead TD in OT, but the run was called back on a weak holding penalty to Jesse James.
Honorable Mention: Allen Robinson, Christian Hackenberg
Defense: Mike Hull, 7 solo tackles, 6 assists
It was not a banner day by any means for the PSU defense, which struggled to put much pressure on Nathan Scheelhaase much of the day. However, they did hold the Illini to just 17 points, and came up with big plays when needed, both in the 4th quarter, and of course in overtime. LB Mike Hull has been slowed since early in the Syracuse game with a knee injury, but was in on 13 tackles, despite still showing signs of being at less than 100%.
Honorable Mention: Glenn Carson, Ben Kline, Ryan Keiser
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