Article Written by Mac Young
Originally Published on September 15, 2023
TIM WEIGHT/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Penn State running back Nick Singleton rushes during Saturday afternoon’s game against Delaware.
The No. 7 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions are 2-0 and are traveling to Illinois for its first road game of the season.
Last season the blue and white opened play on the road in a thriller at Purdue. The Nittany Lions defeated the Boilermakers 35-31 thanks to a last-minute touchdown drive.
Thankfully for coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions, starting quarterback Drew Allar was able to appear in all five of Penn State’s road games last year. However, this will be Allar’s first start on the road.
Last season Penn State went 4-1 away from home, defeating previously mentioned Purdue, Auburn, Indiana and Rutgers. The Nittany Lions' lone road loss was to Michigan.
Penn State is heavily favored to defeat the Fighting Illini on Saturday, but the previous matchup went the way of Illinois.
On October 23, 2021, Penn State and Illinois played the longest game in college football history spanning nine overtimes.
The two teams traded pitiful two-point conversion attempts before Illinois mercifully ended it winning by a final score of 20-18. Illinois ran all over the Penn State defense in that game as the Illini outrushed the Nittany Lions by 296 yards.
Penn State won’t want to let the haunting memories of that season-killing game linger in this one as both rosters are completely different. Look for the Nittany Lions to rely on their high-flying offense early and not let Illinois make it another scrappy, low-scoring affair.
Illini fans are making the most of the occasion, dubbing Saturday’s game an “orange out”. There will be 10,000 orange rally towels handed out to those in attendance.
Add Illinois to the list of teams attempting to mimic Penn State’s “white out” which will be played next weekend against Iowa.
Illinois has never won consecutive matchups against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won six of the last eight games against the Fighting Illini.
On Saturday afternoon Penn State will look to return things to business as usual against its conference foe to the west while the Illini will look to recapture the magic of a game played nearly 2 years ago.
Mac Young is a senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State.
To contact him email