The Illinois Fighting Illini continue Big Ten play this weekend as they square off against the Penn State Nittany Lions in University Park on Saturday. The Illini have dropped back-to-back games after winning their first six games to start the season. They are coming off a 21-14 setback to Ohio State last weekend. Illinois beat Penn State, 33-13, last year.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber knows the team that opens the season in early November will be young, tough and coachable.
What he doesn't know is who will score. Or whether 7-1 center Meyers Leonard is ready to play full time. Or whether transfer guard Sam Maniscalco will be healthy enough to provide the leadership he was recruited for. Or if any of the six freshmen on the roster will emerge as a real player.
Weber says he's challenged his team to make some noise in a year that the Big Ten is expected to be down.
The Illini open the season Nov. 11 against Loyola (Chicago).