The No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0) hit the road for the first time in 2023-24 and open conference play against Big Ten West opponent Illinois (1-1). Penn Stste is coming off a 63-7 win over FCS opponent Delaware while the Fightin’ Illini are coming off a 34-23 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. The Nittany Lions are looking to erase the memory of a 20-18, nine overtime loss to Illinois in 2021.
Moving on to this weekend.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions will continue to look to QB Drew Allar and running backs Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton. Allar has been spectacular through his first two collegiate starts, he is 43-of-55 passing for 529-yards and four touchdowns. The Nittany Lions running back contingent led by Allen and Singleton have rushed for 461-yards and eight scores in the first two games. Singleton has reached the endzone four times for the Nittany Lions.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions are looking to continue their dominate ways. The unit has allowed 22-points through two games this season, forced three turnovers, and scored three defensive touchdown. LB Curtis Jacobs leads the team with 10 total tackles.
The Illini enter the contest on the heels of a disappointing 34-23 loss to Kansas. Bret Bielema’s squad has looked pedestrian at best this season including a 30-28 opening day win over MAC opponent Toledo. Bielema is in his third year at Illinois and has compiled a 14-13 record.
Offensively, Illinois has turned to QB Luke Altmyer as their quarterback, replacing Tommy DeVito who moved on the NFL. Altmyer has the ability to run, he broke a 72-yard touchdown run last week against Kansas, and leads the Fightin’ Illini in rushing yards (139). The Ole Miss transfer is 37-for-54 for 408-yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Illini are led by defensive tackles Jer’Zhan Newton and Keith Randolph, known in Champaign as “The Law Firm.” The combo led the nation with 27 TFL in 2022, and have been a force through two games in 2023.
Here’s a preview of Penn State vs. Illinois including how to watch, betting odds, team stats, players to watch, and a game prediction.