Game Time: 12:00 pm ET, Saturday, October 23, 2021
Venue: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Where to Watch: ABC
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Point Spread: Illinois +23, PSU -23; Over/Under: 46.5 points
Bet365: Point Spread: Illinois +23, PSU -23; Over/Under: 46.5 points
BetMGM: Point Spread: Illinois +23.5, PSU -23.5; Over/Under: 45.5 points
Illinois Fighting Illini: 2-5 (6th place, Big Ten West)
Penn State Nittany Lions: 5-1 (4th place, Big Ten East)
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Illinois Fighting Illini vs Penn State Nittany Lions Preview and Analysis
Illinois Fighting Illini: lost at home on Oct. 9 against the Wisconsin Badgers 24-0.
Penn State Nittany Lions: lost on the road on Oct. 9 against the Iowa Hawkeyes 23-20.
Illinois Fighting Illini Analysis
Illinois is coming into this FBS game with a 2-5 record overall and they are 0-2 in their road games this season where they will be in this game. This will be their 5th conference matchup of the year and they are already in real trouble with a 1-3 record in their conference games this college football season. Their 1 win came against the Nebraska Cornhuskers while their 3 losses came against the Maryland Terrapins, the Purdue Boilermakers, and against Wisconsin in their last game. They were completely shut out in that Wisconsin game and could not get anything going on offense for them. Artur Sitkowski had a very bad game as he completed 8/27 passes for 55 yards, zero touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Chase Brown led the team in rushing with 35 yards on 8 carries but they really did not get anything going for them in the running game. Isaiah Williams led the receivers with 23 yards on 4 receptions in what was a very quiet day for the receiving corps. Sydney Brown led the defense with 7 solo tackles and 5 assisted ones while Tarique Barnes was right behind with 6 solo tackles and 6 assisted ones. Khalan Tolson and Kerby Joseph also played well on defense with 6 solo tackles and 3 assisted ones each in that game. No one on the defense recorded a sack in that one but Joseph did have the only interception for them. They have scored 124 points in 7 games this season averaging 17.7 PPG and they have allowed their opponents to score 172 points against them allowing 24.6 PPG. Their offense is averaging 313.6 YPG while their defense is allowing 428.4 YPG.
Penn State Nittany Lions Analysis
PSU is coming into this college football game with a 5-1 record overall and they are 4-0 in their home games this season where they will be in this game in Pennsylvania. This will be the 4th conference matchup on their schedule this year and they are off to a good start with a 2-1 record in their conference games this season. Their 2 wins came against the Wisconsin Badgers and the Indiana Hoosiers while their 1 loss came against Iowa in their last game. That loss ended a 5 game winning streak that they were on. Sean Clifford really struggled in that game as he completed 15/25 passes for 146 yards and 2 interceptions while Ta'Quan Roberson completed 7/21 passes for 34 yards and 2 interceptions. It was a very bad day for these two quarterbacks. Clifford also led the team in rushing with 36 yards and 1 touchdown on 3 carries while Keyvone Lee led the team in carries with 10 for 30 yards rushing. They were not able to get anything going for them on the ground in this game. KeAndre Lambert-Smith led the receivers with 61 yards on 5 receptions while Jahan Dotson had 48 yards on 8 receptions in what was a very quiet day for the receiving corps as well. Overall, it was a very bad day for this offense. Ellis Brooks led the defense with 8 solo tackles and 6 assisted ones while Jaquan Brisker was right behind him with 7 solo tackles and 2 assisted ones. Brisker also had the only interception in that game for the defense. Arnold Ebiketie, Curtis Jacobs, and Daequan Hardy all recorded 1 sack each in that game. They have scored 170 points in their first 6 games averaging 28.3 PPG and they have allowed their opponents to score 83 points against them allowing 13.8 PPG. Their offense is averaging 396.5 YPG while their defense is allowing 312 YPG.
Illinois vs Penn State Prediction
Illinois has a very bad offense this year as they barely gain any yards in their games and are averaging under 20 points scored per game this season. Their defense is not as bad though as they allow less than 25 points per game in their games this year. PSU does not have a strong offense either as they are only averaging around 28 points per game. Their defense has been outstanding though as they are allowing less than 14 points per game this year. Illinois is already weak enough on offense but they are even worse when they play on the road as opposed to at home. They will struggle to even score in this game as this one will stay low scoring in a game that the defenses take over in. The best bet to place in this game is on the under.
Illinois Penn State Prediction: Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, October 23, 2021 (12:00 pm ET start time) is PSU 20 Illinois 7.
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NCAAF Betting Trends
Illinois Fighting Illini: 146-186 ATS in all games. 28-41 ATS when the total is between 42.5 and 49. 96-118 ATS as an underdog. 53-58 ATS as a road underdog. 65-73 ATS in road games. 107-131 ATS against conference opponents.
Penn State Nittany Lions: 180-170 ATS in all games. 139-122 ATS as a favorite. 87-75 ATS as a home favorite. 101-88 ATS in home games.
Illinois Fighting Illini: M. Epstein (RB) out for season - Undisclosed injury. S. Coleman (LB) Ques Sat - Leg injury. B. Peters (QB) Ques Sat - Undisclosed injury.
Penn State Nittany Lions: S. Clifford (QB) Ques Sat - Upper Body injury. J. Lovett (RB) Ques Sat - Undisclosed injury. D. Ford (RB) Ques Sat - Undisclosed injury.
Players to Watch
Illinois Fighting Illini: Chase Brown is one player to watch in this contest. He leads his team in rushing yards and in touchdowns scored this season. He is coming off of a game where he led the team in rushing yards but they were not able to score a single point in that game, not even a field goal. Their offense did nothing in that game before their bye so look for them to come out here and play a much better game getting the ball in Brown’s hands.
Penn State Nittany Lions: Jahan Dotson is one player to watch here. He leads his team in receiving yards and in touchdowns scored this season. He is coming off of a game where he had less than 50 receiving yards and he will be looking to make a bigger impact in this game. Look for him to get the ball in his hands more here as they look to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
"They're a good defensive team, I get that. We have some work to do. This was another step in the process. It's not pleasant, but we have to own it." - Bret Bielema on his team getting shut out in their last game by Wisconsin.
"It's just a bump in the road. We have to get better." - Defensive end Arnole Ebiketie on their loss to Iowa in their last game.
Illinois Fighting Illini
WR Navarro III, Donny
WR Williams, Isaiah
TE Barker, Daniel
TE Ford, Luke
QB Peters, Brandon
RB Epstein, Mike
Penn State Nittany Lions
WR Dotson, Jahan
WR Parker Washington
WR Lambert-Smith, KeAndre
TE Strange, Brenton
QB Clifford, Sean
RB Noah Cain
Illinois Fighting Illini
Passing: A. Sitkowski (666)
Rushing: C. Brown (414)
Receiving: I. Williams (298)
Touchdowns: C. Brown (3)
Sacks: O. Carney Jr. (4)
Tackles: S. Brown (29)
Penn State Nittany Lions
Passing: S. Clifford (1482)
Rushing: K. Lee (204)
Receiving: J. Dotson (494)
Touchdowns: J. Dotson (6)
Sacks: A. Ebiketie (4)
Tackles: E. Brooks (27)
Illinois Fighting Illini: Bret Bielema (1st season)
Penn State Nittany Lions: James Franklin (8th season)
55 degrees F scattered showers, 77% humidity, 40% chance of rain, up to 8 mph wind speeds W.