Early Scouting Report: Illinois Fighting Illini

Penn State will kick off its 2023 Big Ten conference play against Illinois in the third week of the season. They’ll be looking to get the bad taste out of their mouth from the 2021 game that saw the Nittany Lions lose 20-18 in the NCAA’s first-ever nine-overtime game.

This is a continuation of the mini series giving an early scouting report on every team Penn State plays this season.

Illinois is next on the list.

Last Year’s Results

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Record: 8-5 (5-4 in conference)

Head Coach: Bret Bielema (2 seasons; 13-12 record)

It was a good season last year for the Illini. They missed out on the conference championship by one game. Illinois started the year out 7-1 before losing three straight that kept them from representing the western division.

Bielema will be tasked with replacing some top tier talent on the roster that went to the NFL. That includes their starting running back Chase Brown and top cornerback Devon Witherspoon. With new coaches in the west, they’ll look to take advantage of the last year with divisions and make it to the Big Ten championship game.

Offensive Preview

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the third year in a row that Bielema is going into the season with a new starting quarterback. They bring in Luke Altmyer from Ole Miss who will take over from their previous transfer Tommy DeVito. The offense will get a boost with their best receiver Isaiah Williams returning along with two of their other top four pass catchers from last season.

Running back Brown will have to be replaced after rushing 1,643 yards last season. Reggie Love III will assume the starting role after appearing in 13 games and carrying the ball 70 times. Three offensive lineman will be back as well, including both their tackles. This should help the quarterback have time to find the talented receivers…


Read More

You might like