Defensive keys to Penn State beating Illinois

·2 min read

Penn State is ready to bounce back into the win column this weekend when they host Illinois for a homecoming game at noon on Saturday. And while much of the focus has been on who will be playing quarterback, Penn Stae has the luxury of knowing its defense will remain a consistent strength in their showdown with the Illini.

Penn State’s defense could have a nice field day on Saturday against an Illinois team that has struggled all season to play four-quarter football.

Here are the top three defensive keys to a Penn State win on Saturday in Happy Valley.

Penn State Secondary

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The Penn State secondary has been nothing short of impressive. From Jaquan Brisker raising his draft stock, to multiple players stepping up for injuries, the secondary has done nothing but give other teams troubles for almost every game this season. Illinois should be another easy opponent for the Penn State secondary to have a field day.

Penn State Run Defense

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With PJ Mustipher out for the season, this area will be crucial for the defense to win this game. Franklin came out and said that there would be a rotation of multiple players. If the run defense can have a productive game, this should be a very nice game for the Nittany Lions. They have the talent to fill the void of Mustipher, they just need to execute it.

Penn State Pass Rush

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Like Penn State, Illinois has been dealing with lingering injuries at their quarterback position. They might have more experience with their backup quarterbacks, but their backup hasn’t necessarily looked good by any means. Former Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski has struggled quite a bit from the times he has been in the game. If Penn State’s pass rush can prevent any sort of movement from the Illinois offense, that will probably be one of the biggest momentum boosts for this game.

Penn State’s defense should be in for a very productive game on Saturday. If they follow these key components, they should have no problem winning this matchup.

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