The Illinois offense has been anything but a well-oiled machine this season, recently plagued by injuries at the skill positions.
But there was absolutely nothing happening for the Illini on Saturday, as a dominant Penn State defense shut things down in a blowout 39-0 win for the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley.
Illinois gained just 167 total yards of offense and couldn't do a thing offensively up against one of the best defenses in the country. Penn State's terrific defensive line prevented any success rushing the ball — not that the Illini tried to run too much, anyway — and hounded quarterback Wes Lunt, who threw an interception and was sacked three times.
The Illini led the Big Ten entering the weekend with just eight sacks allowed. Penn State, the national leader in sacks, dropped Illinois quarterbacks a total of four times Saturday.
And while the Illini offense did nothing, the defense couldn't fend off the Lions' offense, led by a strong effort by Christian Hackenberg, who threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, also catching a touchdown pass on a trick play.
Hackenberg's first touchdown pass of the day put the Lions on top, 6-0, before Troy Reeder picked off Lunt and returned it to the Illinois six-yard line, setting up Hackenberg's second touchdown pass.
The Illinois defense stood pretty tall for the remainder of the first half, forcing a fumble and bending but not breaking on several Penn State drives. The Lions would only get a field goal the rest of the half and led, 15-0, at the break, certainly in striking distance for the Illini.
But the offense became even less effective in the second half, gaining just 29 yards in the entire final 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Penn State got a trick-play touchdown toss from running back Nick Scott to Hackenberg as well as touchdown runs from Saquon Barkley and Mark Allen to turn the game into a blowout.
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Penn State's defense clamped down to the ultimate degree, shutting Illinois down to the tune of 167 total yards and just 37 on the ground. Lunt completed just 16 of his 36 passing attempts for 129 yards, while the team rushed just 27 times for 37 yards.
Hackenberg had the most impressive day for the Lions, who also got an 84-yard rushing day from Barkley. Penn State racked up 400 yards of total offense, and the 39 points were the most the Lions scored this season.
Penn State improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten with the win. Illinois dropped to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play with the loss, still two wins away from bowl eligibility.