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The Nittany Lions will face an Illinois team coming off a blowout loss in what is likely to be an evenly-matched opener to the Big Ten season.
Penn State opens their Big Ten schedule in Week 5 with a trip to Champaign to face Illinois. It will be Bill O'Brien's first game in the conference, and there will be an undercurrent of tension in this one after the offseason controversy sparked by Illinois's recruitment of Nittany Lion players. New Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman was widely criticized for sending a cadre of coaches to Happy Valley to try and steer PSU players to Illinois after the NCAA sanctions. That will certainly be a storyline heading into Saturday afternoon's matchup.
Both teams are 2-2, but while PSU is going for their third straight win, Illinois is coming off a blowout loss to Louisiana Tech. They're struggling on the offensive side of the ball, with Nathan Scheelhaase getting banged up early in the season. The offense had six turnovers against Louisiana Tech, and it was never close.
Kickoff is scheduled for Noon from Champaign and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN. The Nittany Lions opened as four-point favorites but the game is currently a pick 'em.