Penn State 35, Illinois 7: Quarterback Matthew McGloin ran for two scores and passed for another, and Zach Zwinak added two 1-yard touchdown runs and 100 rushing yards as the visiting Nittany Lions dominated the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Illinois, which had six turnovers in last week's 52-24 home drubbing to Louisiana Tech, continued its errant play from the start while falling behind 21-0 at halftime. A fumbled punt and roughing the kicker penalty extended Penn State's opening possession and led to a 1-yard TD run by Zwinak, and the Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) capitalized on a personal-foul call en route to a second short touchdown run.
Meanwhile, the Illini (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) squandered a great scoring chance late in the first quarter after Donovonn Young broke loose for a 52-yard scamper to the Penn State 11-yard line. Illinois went nowhere on three plays and came away without points when Taylor Zalewski pushed a 26-yard field goal wide right in a sequence that typified the Illini's afternoon.
McGloin, coming off a career-best 318 passing yards in last week's victory over Temple, found a wide-open Matt Lehman over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown that upped the margin to 21-0 with 3:11 left in the second quarter. McGloin finished with 211 yards as Penn State won its third straight.
Both teams missed points on a crazy play at the end of the first half, when Penn State's Michael Mauti took a goal-line interception all the way back to the Illinois 1, where his knee was ruled down as he stretched into the end zone. The Illini blocked an ensuing field-goal try on the final play of the half. Illinois employed trickery for its lone score as freshman running back Josh Ferguson took a backward lateral and tossed a 22-yard TD pass to Spencer Harris in the third quarter. GAME NOTEBOOK: Illinois' Earnest Thomas III was ejected following his helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone on Lehman's touchdown catch late in the first half. … The sunny September conditions were in stark contrast to last year's snowy game at Beaver Stadium, a 10-7 Penn State victory that gave coach Joe Paterno his then-record 409th victory in what turned out to be his final game. … Leading 14-0, the Nittany Lions stopped Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase on a fourth-and-1 run at the Penn State 28 with 6:03 to go before halftime. Scheelhaase had 270 passing yards but was intercepted twice.
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