Illinois Gameday Preview - Lions Kick Off November at Home
Nov. 1, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (4-3, 1-2) return to Beaver Stadium on Saturday to host Illinois (3-4, 0-3) in the first of three home games during the month of November (Noon, TV-ESPN).
Penn State enters the weekend with a 5-1 mark under head coach Bill O'Brien in games following a loss. The Lions and Illini will meet for the 21st time overall and ninth time in Happy Valley. Penn State owns a 16-4 on-field record against the Illini.
Last week, Allen Robinson posted his third career game with double-digit catches and fifth 100-yard receiving performance of the season at No. 4 Ohio State. Robinson, who leads the Big Ten in receptions (55), receptions per game (7.9), receiving yards (878) and receiving yards per game (125.4), made 12 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown against the Buckeyes.
Junior running back Bill Belton rushed for 98 yards in Columbus, more than any other individual against the Ohio State defense this season. Senior wide out Brandon Felder caught his third touchdown of the season last week, as well.
Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg enters the weekend as the Big Ten's leading passer. The Virginia native leads the Big Ten in completions (144) and passing yards (1,784, 254.9 ypg). Hackenberg has thrown for seven touchdowns in the last three games.
Illinois enters the weekend after a 42-3 setback to Michigan State. The Illini are led by senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who ranks fourth in the Big Ten in passing yardage with 235.6 yards per game and 12 passing touchdowns. He has completed passes to 14 different receivers in 2013.
The Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) will be featured at Saturday's game for the event's amazing fundraising efforts in the fight against pediatric cancer. The organization will present the logo for the 2014 Dance Marathon and the final total amount raised in the 2012-13 academic year. THON teams will be canning inside the gates of Beaver Stadium to raise money for THON 2014 in February.
At halftime, the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will present a check to the Uplifting Athletes Organization.
The Illinois game will also include the "Parade of Champions," a celebration of team and individual successes from the 2012-13 season. Penn State won a school record 11 conference championships last year, including eight Big Ten titles, with the wrestling team capturing a third consecutive NCAA Championship.
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for Penn State's Leaders Division clash against Illinois.