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(Saturday, September 29)
Final Score: Penn State 35, Illinois 7
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) - Matt McGloin threw for one touchdown and ran for two more, as the Penn State Nittany Lions cruised to a 35-7 win over Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both teams at Memorial Stadium.
Zach Zwinak had 19 carries for 100 yards and a pair of TDs to help the Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) to their third straight win after starting the season 0-2.
Nathan Scheelhaase finished with 270 yards passing but was intercepted twice for the Fighting Illini (2-3, 0-1), who have lost 16 of the last 20 meetings with Penn State. Ryan Lankford finished with seven catches for 104 yards in the loss.
Illinois forced a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, but Tommy Davis lost a fumble on the punt return at the Illini 26-yard line. The defense held PSU to a field-goal attempt, but a running into the kicker penalty kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Zwinak got the Nittany Lions on the board with a one-yard touchdown run.
McGloin pushed the lead to 14-0 on a one-yard touchdown run at the 6:29 mark of the opening frame, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive.
A 21-yard touchdown pass from McGloin to Matt Lehman made it a 21-0 game with 3:11 remaining in the second quarter. The Fighting Illini were driving late in the half and had a 4th-and-goal at the PSU 4 when Scheelhaase was intercepted at the goal line by Michael Mauti, who returned it 99 yards to the Illinois 1. With one second on the clock, coach Bill O'Brien opted to try a field goal, but it was blocked as time expired in the first half.
Illinois finally got on the board with 10:22 remaining in the third quarter on Josh Ferguson's 22-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Harris.
McGloin notched his second rushing score of the day, again from one yard out, at the 3:15 mark of the third quarter to give the Nittany Lions a 28-7 lead.
Zwinak added another one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The Penn State defense, which forced three turnovers on the day, held Illinois scoreless for the game's first 34 minutes.
09/29 16:52:55 ET
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