Penn State set for Rutgers matchup

Audio/Story posted November 13, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Destin

David Saggio, Kevin McConlogue, Trent Fye and Derek Heid preview Penn State's game against Rutgers:

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will host the Penn State Nittany Lions fresh off a 42-7 drubbing
courtesy of the Michigan Wolverines. Rutgers struggled to do anything of substance on either the
offensive or defensive end. Quarterback Artur Sitkowski went 8 of 19 in the air for a
measly 40 yards, good for five yards per completion. While running back Isaih Pacheco did run
for 142 yards, 80 of them came on the Scarlet Knights’ only touchdown of the game, which did
tie things up in the first quarter at seven.

Other than that, this game belonged to Michigan. Rutgers gave up 453 yards of total offense and
allowed Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson to pick them apart at will. The 85th-ranked Rutgers
defense provided little resistance, staying true to a script that they’ve followed for most of the
season up to this point. Just when it appeared that the Scarlet Knights were beginning to turn the
corner, with impressive showings in an 18-15 home loss to Northwestern and a 31-17 road loss
to Wisconsin, the Scarlet Knights took a U-turn on the road to program growth. Nonetheless, this
loss to Michigan could be viewed either as a step back or further evidence of Michigan’s
argument for being the best team in the conference; either way, 1-9 isn’t going to cut it for head
coach Chris Ash and his suddenly hotter seat.

Meanwhile, the Penn State Nittany Lions will enter High Point Solutions Stadium as a 26-point
favorite, and rightfully so. After a 22-10 victory at Beaver Stadium against a once-highly thought
of Wisconsin team, the Nittany Lions appear to have righted the ship in some regards. Senior
quarterback Trace McSorley turned in one of his best games to date in terms of completion
percentage, going 19 for 25 on 160 yards passing and a touchdown. In terms of passing yards, McSorley is
still trying to find his rhythm with the deep ball as was the case in past years, but for the Penn
State faithful, this uptick in passes completed is surely a welcoming sign, especially against
Wisconsin’s defense.

The often-criticized offense of coordinator Ricky Rahne appeared to demonstrate new
dimensions that Nittany Lions fans had yet to see. Receiver KJ Hamler caught five passes, of
which the majority were bubble screens in the flat, trying to utilize his speed and get him in the
open field. Running back Miles Sanders also appeared to be back, scampering for 159 yards on
23 carries after a string of woeful performances. Freshman receivers Jahan Dotson and Justin
Shorter also saw significant playing time, signaling a changing of the guard by head coach James
Franklin as he continues to yield playing time to his highly prized recruits.

After giving up its third-lowest point total of the season, Brent Pry’s defense appears poised
and collected, willing to play young talent such as linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive end
Yetur Gross-Matos after gaining some much-needed seasoning over the course of the year. If
Pry’s unit can turn in another impressive showing and get after Sitkowski, it will be a long day
for all those in attendance in Piscataway, New Jersey; that is, aside from the Penn State faithful.

With Penn State’s offensive line likely to get a similar push to that of games such as Pitt and
Kent State, the Nittany Lions should have no trouble moving the ball. The Scarlet Knights will
put up a good fight initially, but inevitably, the talent gap will prove to be too much.

Final score prediction: Penn State 38, Rutgers 13

 

Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email
ajd6360@psu.edu.