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Sept. 24, 2012
PENN STATE (2-2; 0-0 Big Ten) vs.
ILLINOIS (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 2012, 12:01 PM (ET) ESPN
MEMORIAL STADIUM (60,670) CHAMPAIGN, IL
Nittany Lions visit Illini to open 20th Big Ten campaign
TELEVISION: ESPN Dave Pasch (p-by-p), Brian Griese (analyst), Jenn Brown (sideline)
TV APPEARANCES: The Nittany Lions are appearing on television for the 221st time in their last 223 games.
RADIO: Penn State Sports Network (60 stations): Steve Jones (p-by-p), Jack Ham (analyst), Loren Crispell (sideline)
Local: 93.7 FM & 1450 AM;
Illini Sports Network: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play), Kurt Kittner (analyst)
WEB: Gametracker & Audio at: GoPSUsports.com
SERIES: The Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini are meeting for the eighth consecutive season and 20th time overall. Penn State leads the series, 6-4 (9 wins vacated). The teams are next scheduled to meet on Nov. 2, 2013 in Beaver Stadium.
PENN STATE RECORD: 2-2, 1st year
OVERALL RECORD: Same
VS. ILLINOIS: First Meeting
NOTABLE: Named Penn State's 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012...Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick...Coached NFL MVP Tom Brady from 2009-11...Won first career game vs. Navy on Sept. 15, 2012.
ILLINOIS RECORD: 2-2, 1st year
OVERALL RECORD: 23-18, 4th year
VS. PENN STATE: First Meeting
Penn State begins its 20th season of Big Ten Conference competition, visiting Illinois. The teams annually meet as Leaders Division rivals. The Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini are meeting for the 20th time overall and eighth consecutive season.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a decisive 24-13 victory over Temple for their second consecutive win under first-year Coach Bill O'Brien. The Illini fell to Louisiana Tech Saturday night in Champaign.
The Penn State-Illinois game will air on ESPN, the Nittany Lions' fifth consecutive appearance on ESPN/ABC to open the season.
NITTANY LIONS ROLL PAST TEMPLE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN
Senior quarterback Matt McGloin threw for a career-high 318 yards, ran for two touchdowns and threw for one more as Penn State downed Temple, 24-13, in Beaver Stadium on Satuday. The Nittany Lions won their second consecutive game to improve to 2-2.
McGloin was 24-of-36, recording his third career 300-yard passing game to tie Daryll Clark for second most in program history, and earn ESPN.com's Big Ten Player of the Week. He connected with Allen Robinson on a 41-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to open the scoring and added two short touchdown runs for a 21-3 lead late in the third quarter. The Big Ten's leading receiver, Robinson grabbed his fifth touchdown pass in four games, making five catches for 82 yards. Tight end Kyle Carter also had five grabs for 70 yards, including a pair of 20-yard catches.
The Nittany Lions set season highs for total offense (491 yards), passing yards (318), rushing yards (173), first downs (27), 20-yard plays (7) and time of possession (36:52). With three running backs unavailable due to injury, senior Michael Zordich (15-75) and sophomore Zach Zwinak (18-94) both established career-highs on the ground. Zordich added four catches for 39 yards, giving him a career-best 114 all-purpose yards. Zwinak had a career-high 106 yards.
The Penn State defense limited Temple to opponent season lows of 237 yards of total offense, 124 yards passing and 13 first downs. The Owls were 3 of 12 on third down conversions, improving the Nittany Lion defense to just 7 of 27 on third down conversions the past two games.
Senior linebacker Michael Mauti led Penn State with nine tackles, a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Senior DT Jordan Hill recorded seven hits, with a nine-yard sack, and also forced a fumble. Senior LB Gerald Hodges had six stops and senior CB Stephon Morris made five hits.
BIG TEN OPENERS
The Nittany Lions are opening their 20th season of Big Ten Conference competition. Penn State has an official 4-11 record in Big Ten opening games (8-11 on-field record).
The Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini are meeting in the conference opener for the third time, but the first time as Leaders Division foes. Penn State captured a 41-6 win in Memorial Stadium in 1997 (2008 win vacated).
Penn State is opening Big Ten play on the road for the 12th time in 20 years and will open conference action on the road in 2013 (at Indiana).
The Nittany Lions officially are 3-6 in Big Ten openers on the road (5-6 on-field record), with opening wins at Minnesota (1994), Wisconsin (1996) and Illinois (1997) and losses at Ohio State (1998, 2000 and 2006), Wisconsin (2004), Michigan (2007) and Iowa (2010).
This will be the Big Ten's 117th season to determine a football champion and second with a conference championship game. The winners of the Leaders and Legends Divisions will meet Dec. 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.