I don’t know, man. Penn State experienced a significant coaching change this week and multiple players admitted to media that Saturday has the potential to be a huge letdown spot. They’ll get the win, but don’t expect anything the Nittany Lions do to be overly impressive.
Penn State 21, Rutgers 6
I sort of have zero idea of what to expect. The emotional letdown will be real, but Rutgers has also been pretty well beaten down the past couple weeks. The game is at home and I expect a slow start, much like Indiana. Rutgers has played Penn State close for a half or so fairly often recently. I think Penn State wins, but we aren’t very impressed. It will be about as nondescript as this prediction.
Penn State 27, Rutgers 14
It will take a while for Penn State to get started in this one, and it won’t be as comfortable as we all want it to be. The defense will give up an early score, but then settle down, and the offense will eventually pull away in the second half.
Penn State 27, Rutgers 10
Yes, Penn State is coming off another tough loss to one of the B1G dogs, but the firing of Mike Yurcich and promoting Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle to co-offensive coordinators leads to some intrigue (and hopefully some slightly better production). Defensively, it’s all about keeping Rutgers’ ground game in check, because Gavin Wimsatt struggles mightily in the passing game, and Manny Diaz feasts on teams that are one-dimensional.
The Scarlet Knights haven’t scored more than 10 points against PSU since joining the Big Ten in 2014 (and even then, they only scored 10 points twice in the last nine meetings). Don’t expect that to change this Saturday, especially since Rutgers is a little banged up themselves coming off a 22-0 loss at Iowa, and now have to stay on the road to play at “Iowa with a finished basement.”
Penn State 31, Rutgers 6
This is an interesting game to me, as not only are the Lions without an offensive coordinator, but Rutgers actually isn’t terrible. They’re not bad defensively, which could make the interim, co-OC duties being shared by Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle a little more challenging. Offensively I’m not too concerned by Rutgers, but as we saw with Indiana, if the defense takes a day off it can become rather uncomfortable.
I fully expect to see the two things that James Franklin harped on after the Michigan loss - a whole bunch of easy completions earlier in the game to get Drew Allar into rhythm, and then more creativity once the offense has established itself. Hopefully these two things will ease things in the ground game as well, and we finally see a long run get broken off, but at this point I won’t hold my breath. The Lions play well enough, and get a bounce-back win.
Penn State 35, Rutgers 14
By this point in the year, we know what we know. There’s clear seperation between the two teams who are contending for a national title, then a gap between them and Penn State, then another large gap between Penn State and the fourth best team in the conference.
Rutgers is a well-coached and pesky team that could cause trouble if Penn State comes out unprepared after having their lofty goals go up in smoke against Michigan last week. While I don’t think we’ll see the best version of the Nittany Lions on Saturday, I don’t see them collapsing either. This team has too much fight in them to do so, and there are many players who are still building their resumes to prepare for a long career at the next level.
Penn State’s defense should have little trouble slowing down the Rutgers offense and creating a few momentum-shifting turnovers. While the offense clearly has some issues, they will be able to move the ball enough and make the plays against a solid defense, but one that is nowhere near as dominant as the two that practically shut down the Nittany Lions offense this season.
The season isn’t heading toward the ending we were hoping for, but a satisfying win on Senior Day and an eye on a NY6 bowl will have to be enough for now.
Penn State-31, Rutgers-7