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Another Ugly Win: Penn State 20, Rutgers 7

It can never be easy.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As is tradition with Penn State football, it couldn’t be easy. It was a little slow, a little sloppy, but despite all that, was there ever any doubt? The Nittany Lions took care of business earlier this afternoon, laying waste to Rutgers 20-7.

A week after Trace McSorley looked to have rediscovered his rhythm in the passing game, No. 9 reverted back to what we saw for much of October — that is, a lot of “meh.” McSorley was just 8-for-22 in the first half, and while his wide receivers didn’t help him a ton, much of the struggles were on McSorley himself. The accuracy wasn’t there, and because of it, Penn State let a couple scoring chances go by the wayside.

Fortunately, Rutgers’ offense is very bad, specifically, starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski. Before being benched, the true freshman tossed two interceptions, doing his part in helping the Nittany Lions to a 13-0 lead at halftime.

The second half was more uninspiring play from the Nittany Lions. With Rutgers going with backup redshirt senior quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, the Scarlet Knights actually had some success moving the ball, to the point where they were faced with 4th and goal from the two-yard line. As Rutgers does though, it went Full Rutgers as Rescigno dropped a pass in the end zone on the Scarlet Knights’ version of the “Philly Special.”

The Nittany Lions didn’t score in the third quarter, but found the end zone right away in the fourth with McSorley finding a wide open streaking (down the field, clothes were on) Pat Freiermuth for the duo’s second score of the day. Rutgers answered back with a long drive of its own, and for the first time since 2014, the Scarlet Knights scored a touchdown against the Nittany Lions, making it 20-7 at the midway point in the fourth.

There was no comeback to be had, though. Penn State engineered a long, clock-draining fourth quarter drive with multiple third down conversions to effectively end the game. Although, as always, the Nittany Lions shot themselves in the foot to end the drive thanks to a Miles Sanders fumble on third down.

As the title says: it was another ugly win. I feel like I am Bill Murray in Groundhog Day — it’s the same sloppiness every Saturday. Whether it’s the play calling or the execution, the Nittany Lions just can’t seem to get on the same page this year.

A win is a win, but 11 games in, and this Penn State team continues to lack any cohesion.