Final Thoughts: Penn State 27 , Rutgers 6

By Barry Leonard on November 30, 2019 at 6:39 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

We knew that there would be some starters missing for Penn State from the game today, but nobody expected things to be as ugly as they were. The Nittany Lions were completely anemic on offense and allowed Rutgers to stay in the game until the Lions pulled away at the very end.

Rutgers played like it was the biggest game of the season, and gave the Beaver Stadium crowd a minor scare. In the end, considering the number of backups who played extended action and the number of injuries dealt with, Penn State will take this one, despite the fact that it wasn't as easy as expected.

  • Will Levis is tough and provides a spark on the ground, but his passing game still has room to grow. The Nittany Lions really struggled to throw the ball in this one. Rutgers entered the game as one of the worst teams in the nation at defending the pass, but the Nittany Lions were still unable to get anything going through the air. Outside of a pretty, 44-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson in the fourth quarter, the passing attack had a rough day. Levis finished the game with just 81 passing yards and an interception. 
  • Journey Brown was a steal for James Franklin in recruiting. Not really pursued by any big schools, Franklin took a chance on Brown, and it's paying off. He's established himself as Penn State's best runner, and that continued against Rutgers. Brown was Penn State's best player against the Scarlet Knights, rushing for 103 yards and three touchdowns. 
  • The secondary was exposed three games ago Minnesota, and that trend has continued. Teams have been taking advantage of Penn State's passing defense, and Rutgers knew that coming in. Quarterback Johnny Langan threw for 164 yards, his second highest output of the season. While the number isn't a huge one, it was still disheartening to see the secondary once again give up some easy passes.
  • The run game was impressive today. With the passing attack struggling, the Nittany Lions took advantage of a Rutgers defense that has had trouble stopping the run all year. Penn State racked up 252 yards on the ground, led by 108 from quarterback Will Levis and 103 from Journey Brown. Ricky Slade saw some time near the end of the game and looked good, rushing for 36 yards on six carries.

While there will certainly be some disappointment at how this regular season went for the Nittany Lions with what became possible as the year went on, ten wins are nothing to scoff out. Now, Penn State will sit and let the conference championships play out before finding out their bowl destination.

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