Sports

Pressure builds at Illinois as team readies to face relaxed Franklin, Penn State

Illinois running back Josh Ferguson (6) tries to avoid a tackle by Iowa linebacker Quinton Alston (52) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

Illinois running back Josh Ferguson (6) tries to avoid a tackle by Iowa linebacker Quinton Alston (52) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)  (The Associated Press)

Penn State coach James Franklin was relaxed enough as his team got ready to play Illinois this week to talk at length about movies with reporters.

At Illinois, coach Tim Beckman tensely pushed back against what he called bashing of his players.

The moods in the two programs were far different as they prepared to play each other Saturday in Champaign.

Penn State (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) is a victory away from a winning season. And Franklin said the team learned through the scandal and NCAA sanctions of recent years how to handle pressure.

At Illinois (4-6, 1-5) the pressure is growing around Beckman. The Illini will look to quarterback Wes Lunt to have a better day than he did in last weekend's loss to Iowa.