With starting quarterbacks questionable on both sides of this game between Illinois and Penn State, is the under the way to go? Let’s look into the NCAAF odds!
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, October 23, 2021 – 12:00 PM EDT at Beaver Stadium
Between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Penn State Nittany Lions, there are many questions about quarterbacks.
Illinois lost Brandon Peters to an injury against Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago and has still been unable to practice with the team in preparation for Penn State. Meanwhile, Sean Clifford, the starting quarterback for Penn State, also left the Nittany Lions’ last game against Iowa due to injury a couple weeks ago and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to start against Illinois.
So here we are. It’s Tuesday as I’m writing this and we just don’t know who will be the quarterback for either team.
We’re going to act as if both starting quarterbacks get the start, but please make sure to double-check starters before making any bets for this game at BMR's best sportsbooks.
Penn State is averaging 28.3 points per game, but points will be a hit harder to come by with Clifford out. His backup, Ta’Quan Roberson went 7-for-21 against Iowa when Clifford went down, ultimately providing no offensive spark to Penn State in a three-point loss.
Clifford’s status is unclear at this point but going up against Illinois, Penn State might elect to sit Clifford one more week before putting him back into the fire in the Big Ten gauntlet.
Penn State’s offense hasn’t really been what has won games for Penn State anyway. The defense has been elite, especially in that secondary, where they’ve allowed just 201.3 yards per game in the air. The Nittany Lions have also put together a solid display of tackling and are doing just fine in the pass rush.
Meanwhile, Illinois has struggled badly offensively, no matter if it’s Peters at quarterback or backup Art Sitkowski. The offensive line can’t hold those top-tier defenses and has struggled badly in pass protection.
Illinois is averaging just 153.7 yards passing per game and 164.7 yards rushing per game. The rushing attack is great and that’s the one area where Penn State has been its weakest. But even at Penn State’s weakest, it’s better against anything that Illinois can do.
Illinois didn’t score a single point against Wisconsin on October 9 and only scored 9 against Purdue earlier this year and 17 against Maryland. This team has trouble scoring and with Penn State’s questionable status at quarterback, this game absolutely looks like an under-game.
Penn State will keep Illinois in front and could pitch a shutout against Illinois with how great the coverage has been. The pass rush should be all over whoever Illinois starts at quarterback and the offense could lag for Penn State if Roberson gets the ball under center.
Even if Clifford starts, Roberson would likely see some action in the fourth quarter. Even a 42-3 game wouldn’t surprise me and the under would hit. So that’s what we’ll do at this NCAAF pick. Let’s take the under 46.5 in this game.
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