Illini grade vs. Penn State: B


Player of the game: Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase

If you see the quarterback at the grocery store today, ask him if he needs a shoulder massage. Fifty-two passes is a lot of work for a guy first known as runner. Now he’s a thrower, too. Illinois doesn’t hang with the Nittany Lions without his 356 total yards.

Offense

Illinois B, Penn State B+

Yes, Illinois moved the ball well, especially after halftime. But they lose points for not scoring enough points. Christian Hackenberg reminds us of a young Chuck Fusina (ask your parents). Or Kerry Collins (ask Lou Tepper).

Defense

Illinois C, Penn State C+

Tim Banks’ guys played their best game in a month. But they still allowed 490 yards. Illinois still can’t stop the run with Bill Belton bouncing for 201 yards. Penn State made the big play when it counted most, Ryan Keiser picking off an overtime pass.

Special teams

Illinois C,- Penn State C-

Nothing worse than a running into the punter penalty that keeps a drive going. Hats off to Taylor Zalewski, who won the field goal percentage contest. Neither punter will send game tape to NFL scouts. Except for Penn State’s Alex Butterworth showing his ability to flop. Broadway might be in his future.

Overall

Illinois B, Penn State  B+

After the last three routs, a close game was a pleasant change for the Illini. But it felt more like a missed opportunity than a triumph. Bill O’Brien continues to win with smoke and mirrors.

Comments

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DaisyJ wrote on November 02, 2013 at 10:11 pm

How can you call Sheel a player of the game. Look. go back and watch the first Illini drive. He throws off the wrong foot 2 times, overthrows a wide open guy downfield, then over throws for an interception down around the 20. His yards are phoney yards, small tosses to guys that run big yards. You saw the stupid pass at the end into double coverage. Players of the game with that many yards do not end up losing games. This guy needs to sit out the rest of the games. Do not fall for the big yardage as something big

jjohnson wrote on November 03, 2013 at 11:11 am

Daisy is a bit harsh, but I was there and the game was winnable. Nathan had some very good plays but, as usual, hurt his own cause by locking his eyes onto a single receiver and holding onto the ball longer than Cobit wants. Still, without his play, it would not have been this close. Offensive line is giving decent pass protection, but we cannot get run game going.