The Nittany Lions headed into Piscataway for a battle with the Scarlet Knights, and they left one step closer to a possible Big Ten Championship appearance.
The night got off to a terrible start for the Nittany Lions as Miles Sanders fumbled the opening kickoff on the Penn State 19, and Rutgers recovered. Luckily, Penn State’s defense came to play as the unit quickly blew up a run play in the backfield for a loss of seven and then allowed no further yardage on the next two plays, forcing a 45 yard field goal. David Bonagura barely missed the three pointer, but the defense had saved the day. The teams traded punts before the Nittany Lions finally got something going, the big play was a 18 yard Barkley run, but the drive stalled at the Rutgers 14 and Tyler Davis hit a 32 yard field goal, 3-0. The defense held again and the offense quickly got the ball back. The Lions faced a 4th and one from midfield, Moorehead dialed up a perfect play as McSorley hit Gesicki in the flat for 26 yards.The drive moved to the 16 before the team had to settle for another field goal to make it 6-0. The defense once again quickly forced a punt and the offense took over looking for six this time. Barkley had a big 10 yard run on third down and McSorley connected with Thompkins for 15, the next play he linked up with Hamilton for 28. The Lions moved to the Rutgers 2 yard line, but on 4th down McSorley couldn’t find an open receiver and the pass fell incomplete. Penn State’s defense continued its dominance forcing a three and out and giving the offense the ball yet again.The offense got beautiful field position after only a 19 yard punt, but they failed to do anything in the red zone again and Tyler Davis went for the hat trick, 9-0. That would sum up the first half.
The second half would be pure dominance by Penn Sate and it got started early. The defense did its thing again forcing another three and out, Juwan Johnson made his presence felt in this one as he blocked the punt and recovered it on the 10 yard line. Three plays later, Saquon Barkley was reaching across the goal line for the score, 16-0. After yet another three and out by the Rutgers offense, the Lions offense got back to work. McSorley hit Barkley on a 19 yard pass and the unit moved to the Rutgers 14 before they had to settle for yet another field goal, 19-0. If you guessed that Rutgers went three and out on the next drive, you would be right. Penn State took over at their 37 and Barkley got things going with an 18 yard run and McSorley followed with a 9 yard run.The QB then hit Godwin for 22 and on the next play Barkley went for nine more, but took a shot to the head and was slow to get up, Barkley would not play the rest of the night. Andre Robinson replaced him and scored two plays later, the extra point was no good after a botched play, 25-0. Things slowed down as both teams punted a couple times, but then Penn State went on a 12 play 95 yard drive. Miles Sanders added a 22 yard run and McSorley threw a screen to Mark Allen who made a couple beautiful moves and took it 27 yards to the house, 32-0. Rutgers’ offense was just terrible as they went three and out again and Penn State took over ready to score again. Miles Sanders broke a 57 yard run and back up QB Tommy Stevens took it 12 yards for the score 39-0 and that would do it.
Final: Penn State 39 Rutgers 0
McSorley: 17/33 210 yds 1TD 11 carries 55 yds
Barkley: 16 carries 92 yds 1 TD 2 catches 25 yds
Sanders: 5 carries 85 yds
Gesicki: 5 catches 47 yds
Total yards: PSU- 549 RU- 87
Pass yards: PSU-210 RU-48
Rush yards: PSU- 339 RU-39
1ST downs: PSU- 25 RU-5
Turnovers: PSU-1 RU-0
Sacks: PSU-2 RU-1
The offense did not look great early on with the three field goals and one turn over on downs. Barkley had a pass go off his fingers tips in the end zone, on the next trip down, Gesicki had one go off of his finger tips in the end zone, and then it happened to Sanders as well. The weather played a big role in the early struggles of the offense. On a good day, Penn State would’ve taken a 24-0 lead into the half. The offense played great in the second half scoring 30 points and running the ball with ease. Losing Barkley was very concerning, but Franklin claims he’s fine, he still had a nice night going. Sanders, Robinson, and Allen all filled in very well and all made big plays in the second half. McSorley ran the ball more effectively this week than last week, but had a poor completion percentage, due his receivers dropping about six passes, including three scores. Putting up 39 points is always big, but they’ll have to play a lot better bext week.
The defense was absolutely lights out as they continued the tradition that Michigan started, and Ohio State and Michigan State continued as the four teams outscored Rutgers 224-0 this year. Giving up 87 yards was fantastic, to put that into perspective, Rutgers gave up 95 yards on one drive. Penn State forced a stunning eight three and outs, totally dominated the game. James Franklin will need a similar performance from his defense next week in what will be the biggest game of the decade for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State has now won seven straight games and looks primed to go for eight next week. Barkley must stay healthy, hopefully he’s not too banged up and will be as close to 100% as possible for week 13. Tyler Davis stayed clutch going 4-4 on field goals tonight and the blocked punt was huge as it sparked the first touchdown drive. The weather definitely made things tougher on the Nittany Lions, but 39-0 is nothing to be mad about.
Up next: vs Michigan State