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Penn State vs. Illinois score: Defense shines, Nittany Lions up 21-0 at halftime

The Penn St. Nittany Lions are well on their way to a third consecutive victory. Led by a dominating defensive effort, the Nittany Lions lead the Fighting Illini, 21-0 at halftime.

Penn St. added to their 14-0 lead with 3:22 left to go in the second quarter, when Matthew McGloin threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Matt Lehman.

Illinois safety Earnest Thomas was ejected on the touchdown play. Thomas initiated helmet-to-helmet contact with Lehman, after Lehman already crossed the goal line.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase threw an interception on 4th-and-goal, as the Fighting Illini passed up a field goal attempt, with 19 seconds left in the first half. Michael Mauti intercepted the pass, and returned it 98 yards, all the way to Illinois' one-yard line, with just one second left on the clock.

Penn St. head coach Bill O'Brien opted to attempt a field goal to end the half, but Sam Ficken's kick was blocked. Ficken also missed a 47-yard field goal earlier in the escond quarter.

The Fighting Illini have been called for six penalties, totaling 54 yards. The Nittany Lions, by comparison, have just two penalties for 17 yards through the first half of play.

Zach Zwinak leads Penn St. with 49 rushing yards on 10 carries – including a touchdown run. Bill Belton has carried the ball 10 times for 36 yards.

Illinois will receive the ball to start the second half, as they look to get something going by just getting on the board.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.