September 29, 2012 at 6:32 PM
Penn State entered Saturday's contest the healthiest the team has been in a while. After 60 minutes on the gridiron, things stayed that way for the most part.
Stephen Obeng-Agyapong needed some help off the field after his leg cramped on the opening kickoff of the second half. Coach Bill O'Brien was not certain of the safety's status after the game.
After missing three games with an ankle injury, Bill Belton made his return at running back and ran for 65 yards on 16 carries.
"I felt great going into the week, I didn't have no pain at all," Belton said.
Penn State's backfield was pretty much at full strength against the Illini as the team posted 173 rushing yards. Derek Day (shoulder) returned after missing two games, Michael Zordich (knee) wasn't fully healthy, but ran the ball once and did some blocking. Curtis Dukes (thigh) had five carries for 21 yards and also did some work on special teams after not running the ball at all last week.
Tight end Matt Lehman took the most vicious hit of the day, as he was leveled by safety Earnest Thomas in the endzone on a touchdown.Thomas made helmet-to-helmet contact with Lehman and was ejected for the hit. Though Lehman was a little dizzy after the blow, there was no serious damage done and he remained in the contest.
Also on offense, left tackle Donovan Smith, who was sidelined with an ankle injury in the last two weeks, returned to the action, though he didn't start.
Defensive end Pete Massaro did not make the trip with the team to Champaign, and missed his third straight game with a shoulder injury.