Penn State’s offense got off to a good start but slowed down considerably.
Meanwhile, two special teams miscues have allowed Illinois to rally to tie the score at Memorial Stadium, where the Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini are knotted up 7-7.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg led a nine-play, 52-yard drive to open the game and found Chris Godwin slanting to the corner of the end zone to put Penn State ahead. It looked like Penn State would extend its lead on its ensuing possession but holder Chris Gulla couldn’t place the ball for Sam Ficken to try a 21-yard field goal and Penn State turned the ball over on downs.
In the second quarter, Penn State’s defense had Illinois stopped at midfield but Evan Schwan jumped offsides to give the Illini a fresh set of downs. Led by backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole, the Illini offense ran eight more plays to complete a 12-play drive that ended when he lobbed a pass to tight end Matt Lacosse.
Penn State will start on offense in the third quarter.
Nittany Lions Anthony Zettel and C.J. Olaniyan both chipped in sacks of starter Wes Lunt