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already spicy Big Ten opener between Penn State and Illinois just got a little
Nowicki, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Glendale, Ariz., who has
Illinois roots, is transferring to Champaign. The 6-5, 280-pound Nowicki, who
has four years of eligibility left, is the eighth Penn State player to leave State
College under NCAA sanctions that allow players to change schools without
is the first Nittany Lion to transfer within the Big Ten. Leading the departures
from Penn State is star running back Silas Redd, who is headed for USC.
coach Bill O’Brien will lead Penn State against Illinois in Champaign on Sept.
29 opposite Tim Beckman, who also is in his first year as Illini coach. Sources
said O’Brien already was not pleased with Beckman, who dispatched eight
assistants to Penn State to talk to Nittany Lions about transferring.
some Big Ten coaches declined to recruit Penn State players in wake of the
scandal at the scandal, Beckman defended the move, pointing out that no rules
were broken. Other Big Ten schools reportedly were recruiting in State College,
but they weren’t as visible as the Illlnois staff.
game shapes up as an important barometer for both schools and their first-year
coaches. Penn State opens league play with a road test after a relatively
low-keyed nonconference schedule. Illinois, which travels to conference powers Wisconsin
and Michigan on Oct. 6 and 13, could give itself a boost by taking care of
business at home first.
all the attention Ilinois’ recruitment of Penn State players has attracted, Illini
quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase doesn’t expect the contest to turn into a grudge
don’t think it will,” the three-year starter said. “I think people forget
about any grudges they held pretty quick, especially when the season gets
going. Because then it’s about winning ballgames.
think there will be more hype surrounding Its first weekend of the Big Ten. It’s
our opener, and I’m sure people will be paying attention to Penn State and how
their season is shaping up. But we’ll be foused on doing our best job to find a
way to get a win, and I’m sure they’ll be doing the same.”