Saturday, October 22, 2005

Week Eight: #12 Penn State (6-1, 3-1) at Illinois (2-4, 0-3)

I'm not really sure how to preview this game. I know next to nothing about Illinois outside of the fact that they came back to beat Rutgers from down 27-7, played Cal pretty tough and Pierre Thomas and E.B. Halsey are a decent tailback tandem. Judging by the stats, Penn State should obliterate Illinois. Penn State's defense will be far too tough for the young Illini offense to penetrate and the PSU offense should have no problem scoring. Michael Robinson continues to play well at QB. Outside of the fumble and interception against Michigan, Robinson has minimized his turnovers since the Northwestern game. He had gutty and gritty performance against Michigan and made some plays that really saved Penn State. It's too bad his performance was overshadowed by the Michigan victory. Tony Hunt racked up another 100 yard performance against Michigan. Many are predicting a breakout game against Illinois for Hunt. It wouldn't surprise me at all. Other than Purdue, this will be Penn State's best opportunity to run the play at will on an opposing defense. The loss of Derrick Williams will be noticeable but Justin King is going to play exclusively on offense and perform the same roles as Williams did. King is just as explosive and Illinois's defense will give him a chance to learn on the fly. Terrell Golden is also going to need to step up and make plays to make up for the loss of Williams. Golden found himself in Joe's doghouse last season after celebrating a TD catch against Purdue and he wasn't heard from for the remainder of a season. This will be a good chance for him to step up and make a name for himself. There's not much to say about the defensive other than that a couple of position changes have been made. A.Q. Shipley will move to DT for the remainder of the season and return to center in the spring and Tyrell Sales will be utilized as an upright DE, similar to Brandon Short in 1997.

Penn State's Keys to Victory:
  • Show up
  • Stop Thomas and Halsey
  • Let Tony Hunt run the ball down their throats
  • No special teams mistakes

My Prediction- Penn State 35, Illinois 10


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