Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (2) passes during the first half of the NCAA college football game against Penn State Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Champaign, Ill. Penn State defeated Illinois 35-7. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Updated: September 29, 2012 4:09PM
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois dropped its Big Ten opener to Penn State 35-7 on Saturday.
It was the second straight home loss for the Illini (2-3, 0-1), who play three of their next four games on the road at Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.
Illinois had problems in all three phases against the Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-0), who denied they were ticked off at Illini coach Tim Beckman for recruiting Penn State players who were free to leave due to NCAA sanctions.
Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti, who had been vocal in his distaste for Illinois’ poaching effort, had two interceptions.
The Nittany Lions led 21-0 at halftime, cashing in on a variety of Illinois mistakes.
Illinois’ touchdown came on 22-yard halfback pass from Josh Ferguson to receiver Spencer Harris.