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2023 Opponent Snapshot: Rutgers

Penn State will battle with the Scarlet Knights in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Quick 2022 Recap

The Scarlet Knights started the season on the right foot with a 22-21 victory over Boston College. Victories in the following weeks over Wagner and Temple had Rutgers riding high with a 3-0 start and dreams of a bowl apperance. However, those dreams were dashed with a 1-8 conference record.

Rutgers lost by a combined score of 76-20 in its first two Big Ten games of the season against Iowa and Ohio State. A heartbreaking loss against Nebraska dropped them to 3-3 overall before a victory against Indiana lifted them to a winning record after the halfway mark of the season. However, the season would end on a five game losing streak for the Scarlet Knights, with only the Michigan State game showing any resemblence of competitiveness. Rutgers would finish 4-8 and miss out on a bowl game yet again.

Offensive Player to Watch: QB Gavin Wimsatt

Wimsatt could be the guy to turn around Rutgers’ woeful quarterback play since joining the Big Ten. The dual-threat, 6-2, 220 lb. redshirt sophomore has the raw talent and ability be a difference-maker for the Scarlet Knights. However, he’ll need to improve from a shaky start to his career when he started the final five games of the regular season. Wimsatt completed just 45 percent of passes and had one more interception (5) than touchdowns (4) as the team went 0-5 to close the season. In fairness to Wimsatt, he was thrown into the fire late in the year with many key players around him sidelined by injuries. He could be ready for a breakout season with a big offseason under former Penn State offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who landed at Rutgers as their new offensive coordinator back in January.

Defensive Player to Watch: LB Deion Jennings

The Scarlet Knights defense will benefit from having a talented senior as the “quarterback of the defense.” Jennings is long on experience as he enters his sixth year with the program. He ended the 2022 season as an All-Big Ten selection as well as Rutgers’ team MVP. Jennings finished the season as the team-leader in tackles (91) and TFLs (8.5), while also breaking up six passes.

Rutgers Wins If

The Scarlet Knights have regularly given an impressive effort when they face the Nittany Lions, even making some games much closer than expected. However, to leave Beaver Stadium with a win they will need help from Penn State. Barring a slew of key injuries and totally unfocused play, it will be highly unlikely that Rutgers pulls out a road upset on Penn State’s Senior Day.

Penn State Wins If

They show up and play to their ability. The game comes at a tricky spot right after the Michigan game and leading up to a short week to close the regular season against Michigan State in Detroit on Black Friday. Even so, Penn State will need to have one of those games were just about everything goes wrong — not entirely impossible, as history can attest — but it would take a near-total clunker to lose to Rutgers in the final home game of the season.