Prior to the start of Saturday’s game in Piscataway Penn State Twitter was not happy. Why you ask? Well that’s because the infamous John O’Neill was the head ref for the game.
2020 called, it wants its terribleness back. https://t.co/rJP0DSLJnZ— It’s Penn State Football Time. (@PSUgirl) December 5, 2020
How does he still have a job? Penn State better run it up and not give him a chance to decide things. https://t.co/FwYlQGRa0i— Pat McDonald (@PatMcDonald03) December 5, 2020
Which quarter will feature an overturned Penn State touchdown? https://t.co/wLxdNKS4uG— OrangeSeats1940 (@OrangeSeats1940) December 5, 2020
As most Penn State fans know O’Neill is in the discussion for being not just the worst referee in the Big Ten, but in the entire FBS. Thankfully, for the most part, his incompetence did not show up at all on Saturday.
After Penn State failed to convert on a 4th down on their opening drive, Rutgers also went of it on 4th down on their opening drive. On 4th & 1, Rutgers brought in back up quarterback Johnny Langan to run the ball. PJ Mustipher and Fred Hansard stepped up for the Nittany Lions, blew the play up and stuffed Langan for a loss.
Great stop on 4th by Fred Hansard! @Fred_Hansard53— Sidelines - Penn State (@Sidelines_PSU) December 5, 2020
BIG FRED HANSARD LFG!!! Gotta score a TD now. Defense has energy that I haven’t seen all year. They litty. Now Offense needs to get litty too. Littany Lions. #WeAre— TommyPweefs (@Twitta_Tom) December 5, 2020
Fred Hansard is not a small human— DAsch (@TheDaschMan) December 5, 2020
Big time stop for Fred Hansard and PJ Mustipher. Gets Rutgers off the field and the offense with excellent field position— Jarrod Prugar (@jprugar26) December 5, 2020
Fred Hansard making a play makes me so happy. #PennStatefootball— In the Valley of LaVar (@InLavar) December 5, 2020
On the following Scarlet Knight possession, the Nittany Lion defense continued their strong start. After getting Rutgers into 3rd down and long, Daequan Hardy came off the corner on a blitz for a sack to force a punt.
Really nicely designed blitz by Brent Pry. Daequan Hardy is the beneficiary as he gets his first sack as a Nittany Lion.— Justin Morganstein (@jmo31800) December 5, 2020
DaeQuan Hardy on the sack. Came in untouched. Penn State defense dialed in early it seems— Jarrod Prugar (@jprugar26) December 5, 2020
The redshirt freshman cornerback has played some really solid football for the Nittany Lions this season. Hardy did not pick up an offer from Penn State until the day before National Signing Day in 2019, but he is looking like he may prove to be one of the best recruiting steals of James Franklin’s tenure.
Early in the game the Nittany Lions got their running game going. One of the leading cogs behind this was back up quarterback Will Levis as Kirk Ciarrocca went to the Falcon package early and often.
Will Levis all day— Cameron Panase (@Panase31) December 5, 2020
Will Levis first down got me like pic.twitter.com/wXunVg52Kk— James Notor (@JamesNotor) December 5, 2020
Will. The Thrill. Levis.— Marty (@msj41817) December 5, 2020
Levis finished the game with 17 carries for 65. That’s a healthy 3.8 yards per carry.
In his return to the lineup, sophomore running back Devyn Ford also looked good early on. This included a play where Ford used a great jump cut to make some Rutger defenders look silly.
Fellow running back Keyvone Lee also flashed for the Nittany Lions. For the second week in a row, the true freshman made a Big Ten defense looked silly.
Shifty moves from Devyn Ford pic.twitter.com/SOO7JuVsEz— Evan Patrick (@evan7patrick) December 5, 2020
TOUCHDOWN DEVYN FORD LESSGOOOO— bagel (@pittsburghbagel) December 5, 2020
Devyn Ford walks into the endzone!— Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23) December 5, 2020
Two nice runs from Devyn Ford gives Penn State a first down.— The Football Letter (@PSUFBLetter) December 5, 2020
I'm sorry, but Keyvone Lee is my guy moving forward. He's just so good at finding holes and he's a TRUE freshman— Andrew Porterfield (@aporterfield7) December 5, 2020
Devyn Ford and Keyvone Lee have been playing really well considering how mediocre the O line is— saiya (@eddieboul) December 5, 2020
I enjoy when Keyvone Lee runs with the football— caro1(-5)ine (@_supcaroline) December 5, 2020
Keyvone Lee is a star— Sigh (@PSU_Strong) December 5, 2020
Lee rna for 95 yards on 17 carries, for a yards per carry of 5.6. Ford ran for 65 yards on 11 carries, this included a rushing touchdown.
Arguably the best thing to come out of the first half of Saturday’s game? Penn State football was fun again!
This is kind of fun, folks!— WHAT TIME IS IT? (@happyhourvalley) December 5, 2020
Having fun while watching Penn State football?— Krott (@PSUKrott) December 5, 2020
It’s finally fun to watch Penn State football again— Alec Watts (@alecjw33) December 5, 2020
Penn State’s offense is fun again!— Ryan Hickey (@Ryan_Hickey3) December 5, 2020
Can’t remember the last time it was this fun to watch penn state play a game— kel♡ (@kcampp13) December 5, 2020
The second half, well, that was a different story. But this is all about positivity since Penn State has won back-to-back games, so we’ll ignore that.
Throughout the game the Penn State defense was awesome. This was, without a doubt, the best Brent Pry’s unit has played all season.
Good drive. Defense, you know what to do. #PennState— Michael Anderson (@Beastmike) December 5, 2020
That was a pretty good first half on offense and defense for Penn State.— Todd Irwin (@ToddIrwin1) December 5, 2020
Penn State's defense forces another three and out— Collegian Football (@psufootblog) December 5, 2020
Penn State's defense has allowed just 123 total yards to this point and it's held strong in a second half where the offense has done next to nothing— Evan Patrick (@evan7patrick) December 5, 2020
Penn State has won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Woo hoo! Next up is a match up with a fellow 2-5 squad in Michigan State for Senior Day 2020.