No. 7 Penn State Football travels to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini to open Big Ten Conference play in Week 3.
Illinois had a strong defense last season, but so far, that is not the case in 2023.
The Illinis ranked 125 in defense after two games this season. However, Penn State must still be prepared to play in their first road game this season.
3 Illinois Players Penn State Football Must Contain
QB Luke Altmyer
The Nittany Lions must be cautious of Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer.
This season, Altmyer has 413 passing yards on 68.5 percent passing. Altmyer has three touchdowns and three interceptions. The quarterback is also a threat on the ground, as Altmyer also leads Illinois in rushing with 139 yards with two touchdowns.
Penn State must keep Altmer in the pocket and keep him from getting outside the pocket and using his legs.
RB Reggie Love III
The Fighting Illini will likely try to run the ball against Penn State Football, with Reggie Love III.
Love is second on the team in rushing 103 yards on 5.4 yards per rush. The Nittany Lions have the 67th-ranked rushing defense, giving up 114 yards per game.
Look for Illinois to try to get the running game going early.
Penn State Football must play physically to stop their rushing attack and ensure they are not blowing their gap assignments … Which is something Manny Diaz’s unit has struggled with the past two weeks.
WR Isaiah Williams
Isaiah Willimas is the main target for Illinois, with 11 catches and 150 yards for the season.
I’d expect Williams to be a non-factor in the game, especially with cornerback Kalen King and the Nittany Lions’ secondary on the other side.
But, Williams is the guy Altmyer will look for when it is time to pass.
This will be a game that Penn State should be able to handle their business. The Fighting Illini give up 224 yards per game rushing, and Penn State runs for 230.5 yards per game.
Illinois will likely stack the box to stop the run, opening up the passing game for Drew Allar. He
has been efficient in completing 78.2% of his passes, along with 529 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.