Well, the 2020 season is officially in the books. And finally, we got to see what Penn State was “supposed” to look like against Illinois.
Don’t get me wrong, the first quarter was rough - exciting! - but rough. I’m still not sure why the 2020 team just couldn’t get off on the right foot. Well, in this case the offense did, but the defense didn’t. So two right feet, I guess?
In any case, after Illinois went up 21-14 with 6:10 to go in the first quarter, the defense finally woke up, and held the Illini scoreless the remaining 51:10 in the game.
From that point in the game, the Lions outscored Illinois 42-0, racking up 500 yards and 32:10 in offense, while allowing just 76 yards on 19:00 time of possession.
That is, in a word, domination.
It’s what we all expected to see out of Penn State in 2020 - a top 10, potential playoff team, dominating less-talented teams. I am bearing in mind how shorthanded Illinois was, and that definitely had an impact on the final score, but more healthy players makes the game more like 42-28 in my opinion. A closer game, but not one that was in doubt.
The game certainly wasn’t perfect, but it’s the best we’ve seen the Lions play in 2020, and hopefully it will springboard the team into 2021. It seemed like the offense finally started to sort things out, and the defense managed to get out of its way and just play.
Here’s hoping the team takes a much needed break over the holidays, and then gets back to it with a bit more confidence and spring in their step in 2021.