Rutgers is neither an Ohio State team in Columbus nor a Michigan State team on the road in garbage weather that you have to start and then sit around 4 hours to play. The injuries sustained against the Buckeyes remain problematic, but not against the Scarlet Knights. Expect a big rebound for the home crowd.
Penn State 45, Rutgers 6
Penn State with a rout of Rutgers for homecoming sounds nice, doesn't it? They'll easily overpower the Scarlet Knight’s decent defense and run right over them before the backups come in.
Penn State 35, Rutgers 0
I'll keep it short and sweet:
Penn State dominates, both offensively and defensively, and Tommy Stevens plays most of the second half in the easy win.
Penn State 42, Rutgers 10
Looking at the schedule during the preseason, I sure didn't think Rutgers would prove to be such a pivotal game, but here we are: A Rutgers team coming in with some swagger and confidence having won three games in B1G play (albeit against Illinois, Purdue, and Maryland) and a PSU team looking to regain its mojo after a couple of tough losses. While it wouldn't surprise me to see Rutgers hang for a half, I think PSU's superior talent wins out in the end.
Penn State 42, Rutgers 17
I said it elsewhere - this game is important for the Lions. They have to be suffering as much - and probably more - heartbreak as the fans after the last two weeks, and I imagine the possibility of letting the rest of the season implode is a real one. I'm hopeful that the coaching staff and the leaders on the team get the juice flowing again, and that the team plays much more loosely now that there aren't nearly as many lofty things to play for. The first quarter I expect to be tight, before a big touchdown opens the floodgates. By the third quarter the team has loosened up and is having fun playing football again. The backups take over in the fourth.
Penn State 49, Rutgers 14
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Penn State 55, Rutgers 17
It's hard to imagine a passing game as meek as Rutgers's giving Penn State much trouble on defense. Turnovers killed the Lions last week, so let's hope that those are kept to a minimum.
Penn State 38, Rutgers 3
Recruiting analysts and high school football coaches from across the state expect Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten to pay major dividends in football recruiting and significantly enhance the appeal of the program. The Scarlet Knights would now play in a power conference with concrete ties to the national championship, rather than the uncertainty of the watered-down Big East.
"They could become a powerhouse," said Tom Lemming, now with CBS Sports. "Rutgers has always been a sleeping giant because there’s so much talent in that state and a lot of it goes elsewhere. They have everything going for them. All they needed was the prestige of a major conference, and now they have it. I would not be surprised in a couple years to see them winning a division in the Big Ten and fighting for a national title," Lemming said.
Five years later, Rutgers brings its 7-24 conference record into Beaver Stadium as 30.5 point underdogs. Tom Lemming was juuuuuuust a bit outside on that national title.
Penn State 42, Rutgers 14
One of the reasons why I chose to pick the same score for every game a little bit under six years ago was because I, fundamentally, believe that these kinds of predictions (season predictions, score predictions, etc.) are hogwash. They’re cool when they turn out to be right, but most of the time we’re just making things up. So, I picked an outlandish score, stuck to it regardless of opponent, pissed a lot of opposing fanbases in the process, and made a joke about it. Last week I finally hung up my “ridiculous score” cleats, and at least got Penn State’s core correctly. Gotta admit, it felt good seeing them score exactly what I thought they would. Too bad Michigan State did not oblige.
Oh yeah, Rutgers. They don’t have the talent to compete.
Penn State 70, Rutgers 21
Last week, Penn State played its worst game in over a year, and lost by a field goal - bringing the combined total of points they lost by in their last three losses to a whopping seven points. The Lions didn't deserve to win after the extended rain delay, and whether they can bounce back from this two-game skid or not will say a lot about this team and its leadership. The playoffs may be off the table, but a New Year's Six bowl is still very much in play - as long as PSU takes care of business. The first step is a Rutgers squad that is doing much better in year two under Chris Ash than many thought possible, with three Big Ten wins so far on the year - even though they're Rutgers, this team isn't to be taken lightly. Look for more exotic packages and finally working Tommy Stevens into the lineup, despite his lack of playing time in the last two games.
PLAYERS ON THE SPOT: The wide receiver corps. Last week, the wide receivers had key drops that led to Michigan State finishing out the game. This week, the competition may be not at the same level, but in order to win out, this week is as important as ever. And a deep position group with a lot of talent but few superstars should be amongst those needing to step up.
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF … the Lions come out lackluster again - but the home crowd and adjustments and level of competition allow them to pull away in the second half.
Prediction: Penn State 35, Rutgers 10. The Lions have played five top 25 run defenses in a row, and now they're facing the Scarlet Knights - who aren't top 75. The offensive line should have a good rebound week, whether or not Ryan Bates is able to be back or not. This is a rivalry game for the Rutgers squad, but it's a survival game for Penn State. The Lions roll.
It’s easy to think the Nittany Lions could struggle to get up for this game, seeing how they are coming off two incredibly difficult losses and have much less to play for than a couple weeks ago. Not only has it been an emotional stretch, it’s also been tough physically after playing three demanding opponents, as well as losing some key starters to injury.
However, I think they bounce back and get some of their mojo back by returning to the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium. While the playoff dreams will be deferred to another season, there is still plenty to play for as the team is three winnable games from a 10-win season and respectable bowl game.
Penn State gets off to a slow start, but a touchdown late in the second quarter gives them a 14-7 lead and some momentum heading into halftime, which carries over with some big plays that lead to a comfortable victory for the homecoming crowd.
DaeSean Hamilton has another 100-yard plus receiving day, while Saquon Barkley and DeAndre Thompkins joins him with receiving touchdowns. Trace McSorley tosses for more than 300-yards for the consecutive week, while Miles Sanders breaks open a long touchdown run. On defense, Shaka Toney contributes two sacks while Jason Cabinda adds another, along with 13 tackles and forced fumble.
Penn State 35, Rutgers 10