Penn State Nittany Lions (6-4) at Illinois Fighting Illini (4-6)
|Date & Time||Saturday November 22, 2014, 12:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini +6.5 -- Over/Under:
The Penn State Nittany Lions and Illinois Fighting Illini square off Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
The Penn State Nittany Lions became bowl eligible last week and now will try to improve the quality of that bowl by winning out. Of course, Penn State relies on its defense that’s allowing 16.2 points, 265.6 yards, and has forced 27 sacks and 20 turnovers. The Penn State Nittany Lions have allowed just 20 points in their last two games. Mike Hull leads Penn State with 111 tackles and Anthony Zettel has 11 tackles for loss. Offensively, Christian Hackenberg is completing 55.5 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Penn State has allowed 37 sacks, which is why Hackenberg has zero touchdowns and four picks in his last two games. DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis have combined for more than 1,400 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and Jesse James has 62 receiving yards in his last two games. Penn State’s ground game is averaging 2.9 yards per carry, as Bill Belton leads the way with 509 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost five of their last six games and have to win out to clinch a bowl. Illinois’ passing game keeps it competitive, as Wes Lunt is completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Lunt has five touchdowns and one pick in the last three games he’s played, and Illinois has 26 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Mike Dudek and Geronimo Allison have combined for more than 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, while Justin Hardee has caught a pass in three straight games he’s played. Illinois’ ground game is averaging 3.4 yards per carry, as Josh Ferguson leads the way with 581 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, the Illinois Fighting Illini are allowing 36 points, 493.5 yards, and they’ve forced 17 sacks and 12 turnovers. Mason Monheim leads Illinois with 98 tackles and Earnest Thomas III has 8.5 tackles for loss.
The Nittany Lions are 2-6-2 ATS in their last 10 road games and 7-3-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. The Fighting Illini are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games following a S.U. loss and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Nittany Lions are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Illinois and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 meetings overall.
The value here is on the Illinois Fighting Illini, as Penn State's offensive line makes it tough for the Nittany Lions to score points against anybody. Also, Illinois has its real starting quarterback back, is at home and is fighting for its postseason's life. Don't be surprised if the Fighting Illini win this game outright.