Oct 29, 2011, 11:44 AM EST
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. If that’s the case, Penn State should be well situated for revenge against Illinois this afternoon. Temperatures will be in the 30’s today and up to six inches of snow could fall while Penn State hosts Illinois in Beaver Stadium at 3:30 p.m. It could have the makings for a classic snow game in Happy Valley.
Last year Illinois ruined Penn State’s homecoming with a dominating 33-13 victory, a loss that has been discussed at multiple points over the last year. Clearly, that one stung and everybody on the team appears to be focused to ensure it does not happen again. Joe Paterno called it the worst loss of his career, and it was certainly one of the worst loss Penn State has suffered at home under Paterno.
Illinois used a powerful running game and flexed their muscle in the trenches on both sides of the football, but this is a new Penn State team that finds themselves in quite a different situation from last year. The Nittany Lions were around .500 when the two teams met last season, while this season they enter this game with a 7-1 record and 4-0 in Big Ten play.
Hard to believe perhaps but Penn State is currently in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten Leaders Division. A win today against Illinois will ensure they get to the bye week with at least a one game lead in the division, and with a little help they could have a two game lead in the loss column over the rest of the division.
Other than a Penn State win this afternoon in snowy State College, Purdue and Wisconsin would have to lose their games in order for that to happen. Purdue takes on Denard Robinson and Michigan this weekend (a probable loss) and Wisconsin is back on the road after last week’s stunner in East Lansing to take on the struggling Ohio State Buckeyes.
Penn State’s defense has given up some big yardage each of the past two weeks against Purdue and Northwestern, and Illinois will be looking to get back on track after dropping two straight games in conference play following a 6-0 start to the season. Illinois has something to prove and Penn State’s defense wants to get back on lock-down mode that they were accustomed to earlier in the year. Something has to give, right?
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