What a day for the Nittany Lions’ defense.
Penn State’s defense turned five turnovers, including four interceptions, into 20 points, and the offense pushed through an erratic first half to outlast Illinois 30-13 in the team’s Big Ten opener on the road Saturday.
Illinois was able to garner 354 yards, but a good chunk was by the backups late in the game with the game already decided. Nevertheless, offensively, there were lots of positive signs from the Fighting Illini.
The problem? Turnovers.
Despite having six explosive plays, throwing four interceptions and a fumble costed Illinois dearly against the Lions. Two-thirds of their points came as a result of preceding turnovers. That won’t win you many football games.
The Illini host Florida Atlantic on Sept. 23 in their final non-conference matchup. Next week’s game with the Owls begins a crucial four-game run that looks to be the easiest part of Illinois’ schedule as Bielema’s team will resume Big Ten play against Purdue, Nebraska and Maryland from Sept. 30 through Oct. 14.
(Photo credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)