Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Penn State vs. Illinois: Nittany Lions dominate in 35-7 victory

Penn State easily defeated the Illini on Saturday in a 35-7 rout.

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12 Total Updates since September 28, 2012
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PSU owns share of Big Ten lead

Penn State University has won their last four games and are tied with the Ohio State Buckeyes for first place in the Legends Division of the Big Ten Conference.

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Mauti named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after he recorded six tackles, two interceptions and forced a fumble in a 35-7 win over Illinois.

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PSU defeats Illinois 35-7

The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini easily on Saturday, winning the game by a final score of 35-7. Illinois was sloppy all game, and Penn State repeatedly took advantage of their mistakes. Penn State improves to 3-2 with the win, while Illinois drops to 2-3.

Illinois would get off on the wrong foot almost as soon as the game got underway. After forcing the Nittany Lions to punt, they fumbled and gave the ball right back to Penn State deep in their own territory. They held the visitors to a field goal after that mistake, but a running into the kicker penalty wiped the field goal off the board and put Penn State inside the five yard line. They took advantage, as Zach Zwinak put PSU up by seven.

Illinois would continue to help their opponents with silly penalties when the Nittany Lions scored another two touchdowns to push the lead to 21-0. Earnest Thomas was ejected in the second quarter after a helmet-to-helmet hit following the third touchdown, so Illinois had to go without him for the remainder of the game.

The second half would see Illinois get on the board with a touchdown in their first possession, but it was all Penn State from that point forward. The Nittany Lions immediately responded after the score and pushed the lead to 28-7, and they scored again very early in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Box Score Hero: Michael Mauti had a pair of interceptions and 103 yards on the returns as he led a dominating Penn State defensive effort.

Rankings Ramifications: This game won't have any impact on the rankings.

But Did They Cover? Illinois was favored by a field goal, so they failed to cover the spread. The over/under was set at 41.5 points, so those taking the over can smile.

For More On This Game: For more on Illini football, visit Illinois blog Hail To The Orange. For more on Nittany Lions football, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

Next Week's Schedule: The Nittany Lions will be at home to face Northwestern. That game will kick off at 12 p.m. ET on Oct 6. The Fighting Illini will also be in action Oct 6, heading north to face Wisconsin. That game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern win

In an impressive start to their Big Ten conference schedule, the Penn State Nittany Lions have defeated Illinois, 35-7, with Zach Zwinak rushing 19 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Mauti intercepted Nathan Scheelhaase twice.

Here's what's happening in the rest of the Big Ten. No. 14 Ohio State takes on No. 20 Michigan State and Purdue hosts Marshall at 3:30, and Wisconsin plays No. 23 Nebraska at 8:00, but there were two other Big Ten matchups Saturday afternoon. Iowa ended Minnesota's (okay, ridiculously unlikely) dreams of an undefeated season with a 31-13 win over the Golden Gophers. Mark Weisman piled up 177 yards on 21 carries for the Hawkeyes, helping them to a 24-0 lead at the half.

5-0 Northwestern, meanwhile, beat Indiana, 44-29. Kain Colter and Venric Mark combined for 300 yards rushing for the Wildcats. Colter, who also caught nine passes for 131 yards, scored four touchdowns.

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Penn St. leads Illinois 14-0

It's been all Penn St. so far in Champaign, as the Nittany Lions lead the Fighting Illini 14-0 after the first quarter of play.

Penn St. got the scoring underway early in the first quarter. Though Penn St.'s first offensive possession resulted in a three-and-out, Illinois return man Tommy Davis fumbled the ensuing punt, giving the Nittany Lions the ball deep in Illinois territory.

The Nittany Lions received another break on that drive. On 4th-and-3 from the Illinois 7-yard line, an Illinois defender ran into the kicker, setting up Penn St. with 1st-and-goal. Zach Zwinak punched it in for Penn St., giving the Nittany Lions an early 7-0 lead.

Penn St. added another touchdown on their next possession, marching down the field for an eight play, 60 yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Matthew McGloin on a quarterback sneak play.

Illinois threatened to add points late in the first quarter, after a 52-yard run from Donovonn Young that brought the ball to Penn St.'s 11 yard line. Illinois' drive stalled, however, and Taylor Zalewski missed a 26-yard field goal.

Penn St.'s defense has held Illinois to just one first down, and has been nothing short of dominant.

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