Rudel’s Highs & Lows
Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 56-21 victory over Illinois on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: On the game’s first play, Jahan Dotson took a short pass from Sean Clifford and raced 75 yards untouched for a 7-0 lead.
Offensive player of the game: Dotson racked up 239 yards of total offense — 189 on six catches and two touchdowns plus a 50-yard punt return.
Defensive player of the game: Brandon Smith led the Nits with eight tackles, including three for loss.
Most telling statistic: The Lions averaged 20.4 yards on 14 first-half receptions.
Most deceiving statistic: Illinois rolled up 199 yards in the first quarter.
Hidden statistic: In PSU’s last four games, all wins, its quarterbacks only threw one interception.
Best run: Lamont Wade returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown that put Penn State up 14-7 with 10:51 left in the first quarter.
Best pass: Will Levis, on his first attempt, feathered a 23-yarder up the seam to Theo Johnson.
Worst pass: Illinois quarterback Isaiah Williams missed a wide-open Daniel Imatorbhebhe early.
Best catch: Lion cornerback Keaton Ellis made a nice diving interception in the first quarter.
Catch it, will ya: Didn’t see a blatant drop.
Hold it, won’t ya: Sean Clifford fumbled on his first carry in the first quarter, and Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon recovered.
Best tackle: On fourth-and-1 short in the third quarter, Antonio Shelton sacked Williams.
Best block: Isaac Lutz’s blocking helped spring Wade’s kickoff return.
Best hit: Illinois LB Jake Hansen decked Clifford in the first quarter.
Worst tackle: Lance Dixon whiffed on Daniel Barker, which resulted in a 38-yard touchdown that put the Illini up 21-14 in the first quarter.
Best kick: Illinois punter Blake Hayes got a 42-yarder to die at the PSU 6 in the fourth quarter.
Worst kick: Jake Pinegar pulled a 35-yard field goal to close the first half, keeping the Nits’ lead at 42-21.
Best call: Illinois showed razzle-dazzle on its first play with Brandon Peters throwing behind the line to Williams, who hit Chase Brown for 33 yards.
Worst call: Game never got to one.
Best effort: Lion tight end Brenton Strange went airborne to score a 7-yard touchdown, extending the PSU lead to 49-21. Strange caught four passes for 31 yards.
Unsung hero: Backup tailback Caziah Holmes rushed 12 times for 77 yards and two TDs.