This isn't just any Big Ten Conference football opener for No. 12 Penn State, said Illinois junior tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

This isn't just any Big Ten Conference football opener for No. 12 Penn State, said Illinois junior tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

 The Nittany Lions (4-0) want to get a little revenge from No. 22 Illinois (2-1) in the prime-time game Saturday (7 p.m., ABC) in Happy Valley after Illinois scored a 27-20 win over then-No. 21 Penn State at Memorial Stadium a year ago. Penn State already called for a white out, asking fans to wear white to the game.

 Hoomanawanui gets the feeling that Penn State, evidently still considering itself in the Big Ten's upper crust, doesn't particularly like losing to Illinois.

 "From what we've read this week, they don't,'' said Hoomanawanui. "They've been hunting us for a year now. They circled the calendar. They want a piece of us. We'll show up. No one gives us a chance. We'll show up, play our game and hopefully come out with a win.''

 Illinois' victory over Penn State was its first against a top 25 opponent since 2001 and only the third win in 15 meetings with the Nittany Lions.

 A starter after spending two years behind Anthony Morelli, Penn State junior quarterback Daryll Clark blamed Morelli and his three interceptions for the loss at Illinois in a statement unlike what normally comes out of buttoned-down State College, Pa. Apparently, the Nittany Lions -- and Clark -- are still upset about that loss.

 ''I felt that we could have put (Illinois) away early,'' Clark told the Altoona (Pa.) Mirror. "We just didn't execute. (Morelli) made a lot of mistakes, costly turnover toward the end of the game, fumble at the goal line, I think. I wanted to play. I wanted to play that game, period.

 "You feel like, I could have made that play, I could have done this, I could have done that. But that was last year. I'll have that chance this year.''

 The Illini found more bulletin board material courtesy of Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News, who said "Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State are the only programs with any fangs this year, and Michigan State is kind of on the competitive fence. But the rest? None of them could win the MAC.''

 Illinois, a 14-point underdog, is winless in five previous trips to State College.

 INJURY REPORT: Illinois junior safety Donsay Hardeman practiced last week and will play against Penn State, coach Ron Zook said. Hardeman, a junior-college transfer, was projected as a starter in the preseason.

 Freshman Jeff Allen will take over at right tackle while Ryan Palmer is out with a broken foot. Right guard Jon Asamoah can also play right tackle with Randall Hunt ready to sub at right guard.

 FROM PENN STATE: Penn State coach Joe Paterno hoped to return to the sideline against Illinois after coaching from the press box Saturday during the second half of a 45-3 win over Temple because of a sore right leg, the 81-year-old Hall of Famer said Tuesday.

 "I could have been out in the second half Saturday if I wanted to,'' Paterno said. "I figured we got a lot of football ahead of us. Let's maybe take it a little bit easier upstairs. But I intend to be on the sideline.''

 Defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma, suspended after marijuana was found in their apartment, returned to practice Monday, but Paterno isn't sure if they will dress against the Illini. Evans and Koroma missed the last three games.

 John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.