5 Postgame Thoughts: Penn State at Illinois

By John Morgan on September 22, 2018 at 1:01 am
Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois scored on a reverse pass to go up 24-21 early in the 3rd quarter, and the feeling of an upset started to set in. Then Penn State kicked into the highest gear and scored touchdowns on six straight possessions to win convincingly 63-24. 

Run Stops

It was scary there for a while and though Penn State was moving the ball, so were the Illini. When Illinois took the lead, it felt like this could be one of those nights, but alas it wasn't.


After years of concern, it seems like Penn State may have an offensive line that they can rely on. 387 rushing yards! Holy crap! There's certainly a groove and they hopefully have found it as the big games await. Oh, by the way, Miles Sanders is really good.

Juwan Johnson Back?

After some drops early in the season, Johnson rebounded with a solid game. He hauled in 4 catches for 51 and a touchdown. The running game was cooking, but to to see Johnson respond was a good sign.

Second Half team?

The run defense has to improve for Penn State to entertain any chance at a great season. They clamped down in the second half, but this was another inferior opponent that made things uneasy. To their credit, Brent Pry's unit responded again and since that dreadful 4th quarter vs. Appalachian State, they have found a way to shut down any offense that was taking it to them.

Stars Matter

James Franklin has done an admirable job recruiting and it's starting to show. Penn State's youth has shined, but the bigger thing might be the depth on both sides of the ball. In watching Penn State pull away, the talent on the field late in these games is noticeable. The Nittany Lions have a boatload of talent, but as the gauntlet of the Big Ten schedule awaits. Sloppy first halves won't cut it.


Sean Clifford's only misfire was wiped out by a penalty and he completed a pass for 44 yards. He remains perfect on the year and this has now entered no-hitter territory. Penn State is 4-0, but it's Ohio State week and to quote Ric Flair, "If you want to be the man, you gotta beat the man."



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