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Illinois Fighting Illini Vs. Penn State Nittany Lions: Illini Trying To Avoid Third Straight Loss

The Penn State Nittany Lions host the Illinois Fighting Illini at home as they hope to maintain their unbeaten record against Big Ten opponents.

On Saturday, the Illinois Fighting Illini are traveling to Beaver Stadium to face the No. 19 Penn State Nittany Lions in a battle between two of the Big Ten's better teams. The Illini hope to end a two-game losing streak after stumbling in consecutive losses to Ohio State and Purdue over the past two weeks. Penn State, meanwhile, hopes to maintain its standing as the only team in the conference's "Leaders" division to be unbeaten against conference opponents.

With last Saturday's Wisconsin Badgers defeat, Penn State has moved to the forefront of the division title race. They're currently 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the division, while the Badgers are 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the division. The two teams play on Nov. 26 in what's likely to be a critical game, although the Nittany Lions still need to get by a very formidable Illinois team. 

The Illini were actually in the hunt for a Big Ten conference title and a possible BCS bowl appearance during the first half of the season, but the team's offense has struggled in consecutive games against stout Big Ten defenses. The Lions have the fifth-best defense in the country according to points allowed, so it's likely going to be on Illinois' defense to keep Penn State off the board.

For more on Saturday's match-up, check out Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois blog, and Black Shoe Diaries, SB Nation's Penn State blog.