Penn State received a lift from some unlikely sources to clinch its seventh win of the season, knocking off Rutgers 28-0. This marks the first time since the school joined the Big Ten that the Nittany Lions have shut out a pair of conference foes in the same season. Penn State held Indiana scoreless earlier this season.
A roller coaster of an afternoon for quarterbacks started when Sean Clifford was not seen warming up, and took a turn when Clifford left the game to head to the injury tent — and eventually the locker room. In stepped Ottawa, Ontario native Christian Veilleux, who hadn't taken a snap in a game since his last high school season in 2019.
Behind a banged-up line, Veilleux gave the Nittany Lions' offense a spark, finishing 15 of 24 for 235 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions. He was also Penn State's second-leading rusher with 36 yards. Head Coach James Franklin told BTN after the game that all three scholarship quarterbacks were unavailable as recently as Friday due to non-Covid illness.
On senior day, several underclassmen stole the show. With the freshman Veilleux orchestrating the Penn State offense, fellow frosh and Canadian Malick Meiga hauled in his first career touchdown.
It's hard to believe he's still only a sophomore, but Parker Washington wrestled down his third score of the year in the third quarter, one of his team-leading six receptions for 72 yards.
Sophomore Keyvone Lee recorded the Nittany Lions' first rushing touchdown in three weeks, getting in from seven yards out to cap the scoring.
Like a broken record, Penn State's defense was stellar again Saturday. Rutgers didn't cross the 50 yard-line until early in the fourth quarter. In the one critical defensive situation they faced, the Nittany Lions stepped up on fourth-and-three from their own eight, sacking Noah Vedral.
In their second shutout of the season, the Nittany Lions also recorded a late takeaway, thanks to senior captain Jonathan Sutherland's pick.
It was a breakout day for a trio of Canadians on the Penn State roster. Veilleux was stellar in his collegiate debut, while Quebec-native Malick Meiga found the end zone for the first time. Ottawa's Jonathan Sutherland capped the day with his interception. Ontario-native Theo Johnson chipped in with two catches for nine yards as well.