Illinois making statement in Happy Valley

Ever since Penn State countered a pick-six with a long touchdown pass, Illinois has been wailing on the Nittany Lions.

And the Fighting Illini are close to landing the knockout blow.

Illinois has taken a 27-13 third-quarter lead against the Big Ten's worst offense and is showing no sign of letting up. The key to this game has been Illinois' ability to survive two fumbled punts deep in its own territory. As has been the case all season, Penn State couldn't convert red zone chances into touchdowns and had to settle for field goals both times.

After a big field goal right before halftime, Illinois' offense looked very good on a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive that ended with a touchdown pass by a running back (Jason Ford). Redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been brilliant so far today, completing 12 of 15 passes for 110 yards. Penn State is a bit banged-up on defense, but Scheelhaase is gaining a lot of confidence with every drive.

Penn State needs a rally or its season will start slipping away.