With three regular season games remaining plus one bowl game, the Nittany Lions have matched last season's win total. The team's fourth Big Ten win has doubled last year's total as well. This is what progress looks like.
The Lions jumped on the Illini early when Christian Hackenberg found wideout Chris Godwin in the end zone for a six yard touchdown. The score capped off an impressive ten-play drive on the Lion's second possession of the game which set the tone for the day. On the ensuing Illini possession Troy Reeder picked off a Wes Lunt pass and returned it 44 yards, coming up just six yards short of pay-dirt. On the next play Christian Hackenberg found Geno Lewis in the end zone to give PSU its second score of the first quarter. Unfortunately Joe Julius was unable to convert either of the first two extra points for the Lions and the lead was 12-0.
Later in the second quarter Penn State added a 42-yard field goal by Tyler Davis, who replaced Julius after the pair of missed kicks. The next drive for Illinois in the waning moments of the first half was a methodical, eleven play drive that stalled out when Wes Lunt threw two consecutive incomplete passes.
With 50 seconds left in the half and the Lions pinned deep on its own 5 yard line, Illinois seemed poised to use its three time outs in an attempt to get one more possession in the first half. After two PSU runs by Saquan Barkley and two time outs by Illinois, a critical 3rd and one first down run by Barkley got the first down and was the final play of the half.
Saquon Barkley ran for 66 yards on 12 runs in the first half. Christian Hackenberg was a productive 11 for 16 totaling 116 yards and two touchdown passes. The line played uneven as it has all season, allowing three sacks of Hackenberg to go along with the success.
The second half began as the first had left off. Nick Scott put the finishing touches on a nine-play drive with a halfback pass to Christian Hackenberg for a fourteen yard touchdown. Two drives later the Lions added another field goal by Tyler Davis to stretch the lead out to 25-0.
After a nine play drive that spanned only sixteen yards for the Illini the Lions scored again. Saquan Barkley ran to the right for a seven yard touchdown rush, including an amazing hurdle of an Illini player.
Penn State stopped Illinois on the following drive which included an unsuccessful fourth and one conversion attempt. When the Lions took the field for the next offensive possession sophomore Trace McSorley was at quarterback with fellow freshman Mark Allen in for Barkley at running back. Eight plays later Allen ran for a 21 yard touchdown to bring the lead to 39-0 in favor of the home team. With seven minutes remaining in the game the fans at Beaver Stadium began to head for the exits, getting a jump on the Halloween festivities.