The 0-0 halftime was kicked off in the third by once again anemic offense. Illinois picked up a first down on the opening drive, but stalled out. Matthew McGloin came back into the game for Penn State at quarterback, but promptly threw an interception on his first pass of the half. Illinois backup quarterback Reilly O'Toole returned McGloin's favor by throwing an interception of his own.
Penn State's running back Silas Redd started the next drive off with a 24-yard run that put him over the 100-yard mark for the fifth straight game. Curtis Enis was the last Nittany Lion to accomplish that feat back in 1997. The Penn State drive stalled however, and they were once again forced to punt.
The Fighting Illini were able to actually mount a drive on the next drive behind Nathan Scheelhaase's legs and an 18-yard rush by Jason Ford, that put Illinois on the Penn State 12-yard line. Three plays later, Scheelhasse hit Spencer Harris in the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown pass, putting points on the board and Illinois in the lead 7-0. After the score, Penn State's offense promptly went three-and-out after two incompletions by McGloin.
Illinois began to run clock with their 7-0 lead, which in this game seems like a 20-point lead. Jason Ford began getting chunks of yardage on the ground to close out the third quarter. Donovonn Young wound up fumbling the ball however, as Penn State recovered. At the end of the third quarter, Penn State went -14 yards after getting the turnover.