PSU faces Illinois, new head coach for ‘champions week’ game

Nittany Nation

Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney (18) pass rushes as Michigan State’s Jack Mandryk (43) looks to block him during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State is heading into their “Champions Week” game against Illinois. In a change of tempo compared to the beginning of the season, PSU is coming off of their third consecutive win.

The Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State 39-24 to bump their record up to 3-5. The Saturday game at Beaver Stadium has some elements standing in the way: a huge snowstorm is expected to hit central Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

“2020, baby,” head coach James Franklin remarked when asked what the team’s plan is for the inclement weather. “It [Wednesday] could start out as a football practice and end as a snowball fight. As long as I don’t get hit in the face I’m fine.”

Some places in Central Pennsylvania are expected to get over a foot of snow.

PSU’S PLAYERS OF THE GAME AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE

Offense: Jahan Dotson
Defense: Shane Simmons
Special Teams: Jahan Dotson

Obstacles for Illinois: they are playing this game with an interim head coach. Former head coach Lovie Smith was fired on Sunday, who went 17-39. Offensive coordinator Rod Smith will serve in the interim.

“I think it has an impact,” Franklin said. “I hate to see anyone in this situation.”

Injury report: Offensive lineman CJ Thorpe has not been active because of “medical decisions,” according to Franklin.

Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.

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