Scores

Final

Penn State 35

(3-2, 1-0 Big Ten)

Illinois 7

(2-3, 0-1 Big Ten)

Coverage: ESPN/ESPN 3D

12:00 PM ET, September 29, 2012

Memorial Stadium, CHAMPAIGN, IL

1 2 3 4 T
PSU 14 7 7 735
ILL 0 0 7 07

Top Performers

Passing: M. McGloin (PSU) - 211 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: Z. Zwinak (PSU) - 19 CAR, 100 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: R. Lankford (ILL) - 7 REC, 104 YDS

Matt McGloin shines as Penn State cruises in Big Ten opener

Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Matt McGloin threw for 211 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores to lead Penn State to a 35-7 win over Illinois Saturday in the schools' Big Ten opener.

Sophomore running back Zach Zwinak added 101 yards and two touchdowns for Penn State (3-2) and the Nittany Lions forced three turnovers and held the Illini (2-3) scoreless for the first 34 minutes.

After starting the season amid turmoil with two losses, Penn State has won three straight.

Linebacker Mike Mauti, one of the most vocal critics last summer of Illinois for its efforts to recruit Penn State players after the child-sex scandal and NCAA sanctions, intercepted Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase twice.

The second came near midfield late in the third quarter as Scheelhaase tried to rally the Illini. Mauti's pick instead set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Zwinak with 14:03 left in the game that sealed the win.

The Nittany Lions must still be wondering how they didn't turn the senior linebacker's first interception into points.

With just seconds left in the half. Illinois was desperately trying to put its first points on the scoreboard, and was in position to do it with a fourth-and-goal from the Penn State 7.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase saw receiver Ryan Lankford crossing the field at the goal line but Mauti stepped in front of the pass, picking it off and charging to his left and the home sideline.

Mauti followed his blockers, running through traffic deep into Illini territory. But he was also running out of gas with Illinois' Miles Osei on his tail.

Osei, the officials ruled after reviewing the play, got just enough of Mauti to force one of his knees to the turf before the linebacker fell across the goal line. But the review also showed one second left on the clock.

Sam Ficken lined up for a chip-shot field goal that Illinois' V'Angelo Bentley blocked, keeping the game at 21-0 at the half.

Illinois finally found the scoreboard early in the third quarter, but it took a combination of special teams, defense and little offensive sleight of hand to do it.

Illini punter Justin Duvernois pinned the Nittany Lions on their own 1 with a 57-yard punt and Illinois' defense held. After a punt the Illini took over at the Nittany Lion 42.

After moving to the Penn State 22, Illini running back Josh Ferguson took the ball from Scheelhaase and passed deep to wide receiver Spencer Harris in the Nittany Lion end zone to cut the gap to 21-7.

But Illinois struggled to move the ball from that point on.

Scheelhaase finished with 270 passing yards, going 28 of 46. Lankford had seven catches for a game-high 104 yards.

Illinois quite literally handed the Nittany Lions the first points of the game.

Less than two minutes into the game, Illini return man Tommy Davis fumbled Alex Butterworth's punt at the Illinois 26. Penn State's Michael Fuhrman recovered at the Illinois 26.

Penn State drove to the Illinois 7 and was stopped there. But Bentley was flagged for grazing Ficken's kicking leg, giving Penn State a first down. Zwinak plowed into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead with 10:41 left in the first quarter.

Penn State added another touchdown four minutes later on a 1-yard run by McGloin to go up 14-0.

The hard feelings between the teams were sometimes clear.

Players exchanged words as they crossed paths on the way to the locker rooms at halftime and had to be separated by officials and staff members from each team.

And Illinois safety Earnest Thomas was ejected from the game after a hard helmet-to-helmet hit on Matt Lehman in the end zone as the tight end caught a second-quarter touchdown. Penn State staff led the groggy Lehman off the field but he returned and finished with five catches for 70 yards.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PSU
ILL
1st Downs2317
Total Yards384366
Passing211292
Rushing17374
Penalties2-178-69
3rd Down Conversions6-154-15
4th Down Conversions1-41-3
Turnovers03
Possession32:5527:05

Passing Leaders

Penn StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
McGloin18/302117.010
IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Scheelhaase28/462705.902

Rushing Leaders

Penn StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Zwinak191005.3214
Belton16654.1019
IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Young66310.5052
Scheelhaase1170.608

Receiving Leaders

Penn StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lehman57014.0123
Carter34515.0019
IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lankford710414.9022
Harris34113.7122

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPSUILL
TD10:41Zach Zwinak 1 Yd Run (Sam Ficken Kick) 70
TD06:29Matthew McGloin 1 Yd Run (Sam Ficken Kick) 140
SECOND QUARTERPSUILL
TD03:11Matt Lehman 21 Yd Pass From Matthew McGloin (Sam Ficken Kick) 210
THIRD QUARTERPSUILL
TD10:22Spencer Harris 22 Yd Pass From Josh Ferguson (Taylor Zalewski Kick) 217
TD03:15Matthew McGloin 1 Yd Run (Sam Ficken Kick) 287
FOURTH QUARTERPSUILL
TD14:03Zach Zwinak 1 Yd Run (Sam Ficken Kick) 357