Halftime Thoughts: Penn State 7, Rutgers 3

By Jarrod Prugar on November 30, 2019 at 4:52 pm
Nov 30, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Will Levis (7) avoids a tackle while running with the ball during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Mercilessly, the first half is finally over. It's okay, we all know you wanted to see prettier football out of the Nittany Lions, as did all of Beaver Stadium and everyone who roots for Penn State. Alas, we now can enjoy these halftime thoughts and prepare for what the second half has to offer.

  • Blake Gillikin has been one of the most consistent performers for the Nittany Lions. The senior punter was again one of the best players in a first half that didn't feature many positives. Gillikin boomed a 72-yard punt in the second quarter, which pinned the Rutgers offense at its own three-yard line. 
  • It's not good for the offense when the punter is a top performer, but here we are. Quarterback Will Levis, starting in place of an injured Sean Clifford, has faired decently well in his first start — he's the leading rusher with 11 carries for 63 yards. Journey Brown has 8 carries for 42 yards, while the passing offense has been as dynamic as the mostly empty student section. 
  • While Tariq Castro-Fields and Yetur Gross-Matos are out and a multitude of young players are getting time, the Penn State defense has held up their end of the bargain for the most part. Rutgers has moved the ball alarming well, but has been kept off the scoreboard aside from a field goal.

Between Penn State looking sluggish, Rutgers gaining confidence, and the crowd having a strong Blue-White game vibe, this was not a particularly great half-hour of football. All the Nittany Lions need to do is win. It's nice and simple, yet struggling with a bad Rutgers team is not an ideal way to go into the bowl break.