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Penn State can't hold on in loss to Illinois

September 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Rejus Benn returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and caught a pass for another, and the Illinois defense intercepted three passes for a 27-20 upset over No. 21 Penn State on Saturday.

The Illini (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) forced Nittany Lions' quarterback Anthony Morelli into three interceptions and a fumble, all in the second half and all deep in Illinois territory.

Penn State fell to 3-2, 0-2, with upcoming games against Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Morelli completed 21 of 38 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown, but he was picked off by linebacker J Leman and defensive backs Vontae Davis and Kevin Mitchell.

Benn returned a first-quarter kickoff for a score and caught six passes for 84 yards.

Illinois' offense struggled in the second half, but the defense held Penn State to a field goal in the game's final half-hour.

The Nittany Lions drove deep into Illinois territory four times in the second half, and all but one ended with a turnover.

The last, with 27 seconds left, secured the win for Illinois.

Morelli, facing a third down and 20 at his own 48, scrambled to his right and threw deep in Illini territory, but Mitchell intercepted.

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