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2011 Football Season: Penn State vs Illinois - Gameday

Penn State vs. Illinois - Game Notes (pdf)
Beaver Stadium
October 29, 2011
Time 3:30pm

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The Scoop

It was far from a happy Homecoming last season when Penn State was throttled by Illinois on a gorgeous October day at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions gave up a whopping 282 rushing yards and managed just seven first-downs in the 33-13 defeat, Penn State's worst since 2007. 

Illinois loses three All-Big ten players from last season, including running back Mikel Leshoure who ran for 119 yards in last season's meeting. The Illini finished the season 7-6 (4-4 Big Ten), setting a school record for points scored in a season in the process, and defeated Baylor in the 2011 Texas Bowl for their first bowl win since 2000. They return talented quarterback Nathan Scheelchase, who threw for over 1,800 yards last season and ran for 868 yards while accounting for 22 total touchdowns. Still, the Illini struggled in the passing game, finishing 111th nationally in passing last season. 

Heading into this game, the Lions figure to only have one, at most two, blemishes on their record and will be in contention at the top of the Leaders Division. This game, along with Purdue two weeks earlier, the Lions need to take control early and protect their home field heading into a brutal final three (or four) games.


Penn State and Illinois have played a total of 18 games against one another since 1954. The Nittany Lions have won 14 of those games and they have lost only one game at home which occurred last year in the 2010 season. The Fighting Illini has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since 1896 and has won 15 conference championships and five National Championships. When Penn State first played Illinois Ray Eliot was the coach of the Fighting Illini and Rip Engle was the coach for the Nittany Lions. Since Joe Paterno has been coach Illinois has had six other coaches including Ron Turner and Ron Zook.

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