Game Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights

By Joel Neuschwander on November 19, 2021 at 9:00 am
Nov 13, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; The The Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate and leave the end zone after a touchdown by Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Isaih Pacheco (1) early in the game during the first quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

For the final time this fall, Penn State will take the field at home. For a number of Nittany Lions, it will likely be the final time they touch the Beaver Stadium grass wearing the blue and white. Upset-minded Rutgers will look to spoil the Senior Day festivities.

  Penn State Nittany Lions RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
2021 Record 6-4 5-5
Head Coaches James Franklin (90-47, 66-32 with Penn State) Greg Schiano (76-78 all with Rutgers)
Kickoff 12:00 PM EDT
Television Big Ten Network
Stream Watch Fox Sports
spread Penn State -18

what to watch for

ONE LAST RIDE

Saturday marks potentially the last go-around for Penn State seniors at home. A few players — Jaquan Brisker and Tariq Castro-Fields included — know that this will be, without a doubt, their last home game after already taking advantage of the NCAA's extra year of eligibility rule due to the pandemic and returning for a fifth season.

Others, like Jahan Dotson, have a clear NFL future waiting, but thanks to that rule, some Nittany Lions face a tough decision regarding whether to run it back in 2022.

FIELD POSITION

Jordan Stout may have met his match in Rutgers' Adam Korsak. The duo ranks first and second among Big Ten punters in average yards per punt this season. Both offenses could struggle to get near the end zone Saturday, so the onus may fall on two of the best in the business to continuously flip the field.

KEEPING CLIFFORD UPRIGHT

Sean Clifford cannot survive another beating similar to the one he took last Saturday against Michigan. Rutgers' pass-rush isn't at the Wolverines level, but the Penn State offensive line needs to do whatever it can to protect its signal-caller. Clifford taking unnecessary shots is the last thing Nittany Lion fans want to see after what he's been through so far this season.

RUTGERS' OFFENSIVE WOES

Since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014, they've reached double-digit points just once against Penn State — in the teams' first meeting as conference foes, when Rutgers hit a whopping 10 on the scoreboard.

Greg Schiano's squad is averaging just 15 points per game in conference play, but got 38 last week in a takeaway-heavy performance at Indiana. The Nittany Lions will want to hold onto the rock and not give a lackluster unit any reason to make this game closer than it should be.

prediction

Penn State has lost four of five. Rutgers has won two of three. Schiano has made the program competitive in his second season back in the fold, and the Scarlet Knights are on the cusp of bowl-eligibility. The Nittany Lions seem prime for a letdown. This is not a good combination of factors for the blue and white Saturday afternoon.

Still, Penn State has a sizable edge in talent, and should be able to make enough plays on both sides of the ball to send its seniors off victorious. They may have to grind it out, but the Nittany Lions will win their 15th straight over Rutgers.

PENN STATE 21, RUTGERS 10

0 Comments