Saturday, October 29, 2011
Halftime: Penn State 0, Illinois 0
By Adam Rittenberg
That pretty much sums up the first half in State College, where it's snowing and neither offense has shown up. Will this be first to 10? First to score?
Illinois appeared ready to make the scoreboard operator finally do his job late in the first half as Derek Dimke lined up for a 26-yard field-goal try. Dimke has been perfect on seven attempts this season. But the Illini botched the snap and then threw an interception to Penn State's Sean Stanley, who turned in a nice half.
Illinois might have botched the game winner at the rate this contest is going.
The teams combined for nine first downs, two third down conversions on 17 attempts, four turnovers and 176 total yards. While both teams boast solid defenses, the two offenses have been downright painful to watch.
Both teams have played two quarterbacks, although Illinois looks much more justified to do so than Penn State. Joe Paterno and his staff continue to trot out Rob Bolden, who clearly hasn't developed the way anyone had hopes. While Matthew McGloin made his second start and struggled, Bolden failed to complete a pass on four attempts and twice fumbled. Fans seemed to boo the sophomore late in the half.
Nittany Lions sophomore RB Silas Redd has been solid as usual (14 rushes, 74 yards), but the lack of production at quarterback is infuriating. Will McGloin be the guy in the second half like he has the past few games? You never know with this staff.
Illinois' Reilly O'Toole completed 3 of 4 passes in relief of Nathan Scheelhaase, who has struggled mightily for the third consecutive game. The Illini can't abandon their run game with Jason Ford, especially in a contest where few points will be scored.
Here's hoping for some excitement in the final 30 minutes. Strange, strange day in the Big Ten.