STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Halloween is still one week away but Saturday's result is a homecoming horror story for Penn State. The offense is unable to score more than 10 points in regulation against Illinois and they lose in a record-breaking nine overtimes 20-18. All championship aspirations flew out of Beaver Stadium like a witch on a broom.
"Obviously we did not have our guys ready to play."
Not exactly the quote you want from your head coach after a game in which you are favored to win by more than three touchdowns.
Penn State's Head Coach James Franklin didn't have a lot of answers why his 7th ranked Nittany Lions couldn't handle unranked Illinois.
Not a lot of answers but a ton of questions why the team was not more prepared after a bye with two weeks to prepare for a 2-5 team that was just shut out at home by Wisconsin.
The Fighting Illini came out in a power run formation with extra offensive lineman and a pair of tight ends. They rolled to almost 400 yards rushing on the ground against Penn State but only scored 10 points in regulation. The Lions defense did their job bending but only breaking for the one touchdown and one field goal.
Penn State's offense was the chief concern. Senior QB Sean Clifford returned to the starting lineup after leaving the Iowa game in the first half. He was obviously not 100% and clearly limited in his mobility and aggressiveness. He completed 19 of 34 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. The first two offensive possessions in overtime started at the Illinois 25 and ended up in field goals by Jordan Stout. The next seven overtimes consisted of two-point conversion tries by both teams. Penn State was able to convert on only one of them.
The attached video includes highlights of the game and postgame reaction from Coach Franklin. Next up for the Nittany Lions is a trip to Columbus to face Ohio State.