September 22, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions mascot performs in the first half in the game against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Illinois Football Preview: Penn State

Penn State at Illinois
September 29, 2012
12:00 EST

Penn State University

State College, Pennsylvania

Head Coach: Bill O’Brien (2-2 career)

2011 Record: 9-4

2012 Record: 2-2

Key Players: 

QB #11 Matt McGloin: Though the season is young, McGloin seems to have made great strides from his past performances. His 9 touchdowns in 2012 are one more than he totaled in 2011 and have him tied for the lead in the Big Ten. His 1,006 passing yards have him at the top of the conference.

WR #8 Allen Robinson: Robinson has emerged as the go-to guy in O’Brien’s offense. He currently leads the conference in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.

LB #42 Michael Mauti: Fully recovered from a knee injury that sidelined Mauti for most of 2011, he has become the undisputed leader of this defense.

DB #4 Adrian Amos: Expect to see Amos all over. He starts at corner but moves back to safety in a particular nickel package. He is also a part time kick returner. Possibly the best athlete on the team.


The Bill O’Brien offense is what many expected. He calls plays that fit McGloin’s strengths and he utilizes several tight ends at a high volume. Don’t be surprised to see at least three tight ends have catches on Saturday.

Penn State will be getting back their starting left tackle, Donovan Smith, from a leg injury. Also returning to action will be starting running back Bill Belton (out since week 1) and backup running back Derek Day, who missed the last two weeks.

The defensive strength is in the front seven, no question about it. The secondary has been suspect and defensive coordinator Ted Roof is not afraid to put his corners in man coverage, often. The first defensive back off the bench is corner DaQuan Davis. He has done a nice job, but QBs look for him to be in man coverage and go right at him when he is. Keep an eye on #3 when he enters the game.

Penn State has had real issues in the kicking game. Punter Alex Butterworth has one of the lowest averages in the country and place kicker Sam Ficken has been a mess thus far. In a one-point loss to Virginia, Ficken was 1-5 on the day and had an extra point blocked.



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