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Position Grades: Rutgers

The defense played pretty well. The offense, eh...not so much.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

So, it wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but a win’s a win, am I right? Anyway, let’s get these over with, shall we?

Quarterback: C-

Trace McSorley’s slightly better second half performance after an abysmal first half is what prevented this grade from being a D. He once again had problems with misfiring on open receivers and threw an interception, but he did complete a couple TD’s to arguably his favorite target, Pat Freiermuth and he did pick up a couple of critical first downs using his feet late in the fourth quarter to help PSU run out enough clock to make a Rutgers rally virtually impossible.

Running Back: C

Despite carrying the ball 27 times, Miles Sanders was unable to eclipse the 100-yard mark, finishing with 94 yards. He did however, have a few nice-looking runs that would’ve at least been huge gains, if not TD’s, had it not been for a shoestring tackle by a Rutgers defender. Furthermore, he had a couple of critical first down pickups on the ground in the fourth quarter when PSU was attempting to run out the clock. It was also good to see Ricky Slade get some action, even if he only carried a couple of times and didn’t pick up much on the ground.

Wide Receiver/Tight End: B

KJ Hamler led the way receptions-wise with five of them for 71 yards. Jahan Dotson also caught four balls for 58 yards, but also dropped what should’ve been a TD in the end zone with PSU trying to pad its 10-0 lead right before halftime. Meanwhile, Freiermuth’s three catches for 47 yards were absolutely clutch because it included his pair of TD receptions, which were the only TD’s of the game for PSU.

We also had a Justin Shorter sighting and he even got on the stat sheet, catching a lateral and taking it for a 9-yard gain.

Offensive Line: C-

Perhaps I’m being generous with this grade and it should be a D. Considering how porous Rutgers was against the run coming into this game, you would think this unit would have asserted themselves from the beginning and opened Moses-wide holes for Sanders, Trace, et. al. to run through. Alas, such was not the case.

Defensive Line: A

A solid day overall for this group, as they accounted for 10 of the team’s 11 tackles for a loss, including sacks from Shareef Miller, Robert Windsor, and Antonio Shelton. Daniel Joseph also came up with a fumble recovery that set up PSU’s second TD of the day. Rutgers was hell-bent on trying to run the ball down PSU’s throat, and along with the linebackers, the D-line did its job in helping to keep the Scarlet Knights relatively in check.

Linebacker: A-

Micah Parsons got his first career start yesterday and boy, did he not disappoint: 7 total tackles, including a sack that forced a fumble (which was negated by a very dumb unsportsmanlike conduct penalty). Koa Farmer did some good things too, breaking up a pass and coming up with a tackle for a loss himself (he had 8 tackles total on the day). Jan Johnson also had 8 tackles himself.

Secondary: A

John Reid and Garrett Taylor each had a pick, leading the way for a unit which held Rutgers to a measly 46 yards passing. Shout-out also goes to Rutgers QB Gio Rescigno for providing the Internet with a yakety sax moment.

Special Teams: A

Blake Gillikin alone carried this unit, with his nearly 49 yards average on six punts (including a 70-yarder). Jake Pinegar also tacked on a pair of chip-shot field goals himself, while KJ Hamler had a decent punt return to set up PSU at mid-field.