At 11:59 a.m. Saturday, Penn State had everything going for it.
Illinois, a supposedly inferior opponent with a whole new set of coaches, had the misfortune of playing in Beaver Stadium on Homecoming Weekend.
Attendance was high (107,638), as were spirits. This was Penn State's game to lose.
Four hours later, the improbable was finished. Illinois ran all over the young, injured Lions until the scoreboard read 33-13 in its favor.
"We stunk," said Coach Joe Paterno after the game. "We did a lousy job."
Injuries crippled the defense, and the Illinois defense crippled the offense.
Penn State linemen and linebackers barely slowed down Illini running game, which put up 282 net yards. QB Nathan Scheelhaase had a strong day to boot, throwing 15-19 with one TD and no interceptions.
Penn State QB Rob Bolden's numbers were far inferior. He was 8-21 for 142 (62 if you take away the 80-yard TD pass) yards with one pick and one TD. He was also sacked twice.
The Lion running game didn't help much, either. It had 65 net rushing yards on the day. Running backs Evan Royster and Silas Redd both averaged 3.2 yards per carry.
Click here for Mike Poorman's coverage of the game and click here for more photos by Nathan A. Smith.
From the third quarter:
If Illinois was a bumbling, fumbling team in the first half, then a different Illinois is playing in the third quarter.
QB Nathan Scheelhaase has been putting on a clinic. In this quarter alone, he's rushed for 29 yards and passed for 19. He's breaking tackles on his rushes and hitting his marks on his passes.
The Illini rushed for more than 100 yards in the third quarter alone. Mikel Leshoure has rushed for 116 rushes, and Scheelhaase has 62 to his name.
A pass by Illinois halfback Jason Ford gave the Illini an even larger lead. A field goal that followed set the score at 30-13 in the Illini's favor.
From the first half:
In a half defined by so many turnovers, it's surprising that no players have left the game with whiplash injuries.
The opening kickoff ended when Illinois returner Jack Ramsey fumbled the ball after a short return. Illinois recovered, but the stripped ball was a sign of things to come.
Since then, there have been three turnovers in the game.
Ramsey fumbled on a punt return in the middle of the first quarter, giving way to a Penn State field goal.
A Rob Bolden pass was picked off by Nate Bussey and returned for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Ramsey fumbled a third time (second on a punt return) to allow a Penn State field goal with little more than two minutes remaining in the half.
Penn State struck first in this game with the field goal after Ramsey's first lost fumble.
Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins gave his team the lead at the beginning of the second quarter with an 18-yard touchdown reception.
Only a few minutes later, Bolden's interception-turned-touchdown widened the lead for Illinois to 11 points.
Bolden returned with fire on the next drive, tossing an 80-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Derek Moye. The catch was Moye's longest of his career.
Three field goals (two by Illinois) set the halftime score at 20-13.
The series record between the two teams is 14-3 in Penn State's favor. The Illini are hoping to upset the favored, though struggling, Lions.
Check back at StateCollege.com throughout the game for more updates.