Penn State vs. Rutgers Game Preview
After a 21-17 loss to the Michigan Wolverines last Saturday, Penn State fell outside of the AP Top-25 poll as it prepares to host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Senior Day. Notable seniors such as Jaquan Brisker, Jahan Dotson, Jordan Stout and Sean Clifford will hope to finish their possible last home game on a high note at Beaver Stadium.
A question proposed to the Penn State fans is whether or not Clifford will return for another season, and many believe so.
Him and the other seniors will look to leave it all out on the field this Saturday in hopes of returning to their winning ways, currently sitting at 6-4.
The 5-5 Scarlet Knights will look to keep their momentum going into Beaver Stadium as they just rolled over Indiana 38-3 last Saturday.
Rutgers has lots of confidence thanks to trending in the right direction, as well as the thought of Illinois, who it beat, unlike Penn State who was No. 7 at the time the Fighting Illini took it down.
The big plays will have to be converted for the Nittany Lions to solidify a convincing victory, as they have not had big plays from important moments in each of their losses.
Clifford has struggled as of late, and perhaps in part due to the injury he suffered in Penn State’s loss to Iowa. Clifford has a 44.7 QBR against Michigan, which isn’t going to match up well against the defense of Rutgers.
Rutgers is coming off an Indiana game where it forced two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
It will have to be the defense of the Scarlet Knights once again, as their offense hasn’t produced from the passing game due to only seven touchdowns passes from quarterback Noah Verbal.
The running game of Isaih Pacheco will most likely have to produce once again, as he is coming off a two-touchdown performance against Indiana.
The defense of the Nittany Lions is one of the best in the country, but the weak point is the rushing defense that allows 137.9 yards per game. The passing defense will be on full display as safeties Brisker and Ji’Ayir Brown have combined for six interceptions on the year.
Dotson will look to show out in his final game at Beaver Stadium and carry the offense of the Nittany Lions as usual.
A Big Ten second-best nine receiving touchdowns, as well as 993 receiving yards will keep the likes of Max Melton busy. Melton has a team-high three interceptions for Rutgers and he will look to stop Dotson from reaching double-digits in the receiving touchdowns category.
Keyvone Lee has stepped up to be the Nittany Lions’ lead running back and he could have a big breakout game against a weaker defense like Rutgers.
Lee is coming off a 20-carry game against Michigan and with his newly gained confidence, a touchdown in the rushing category may just be what the Nittany Lions need to separate themselves this Saturday.
A scoring mentality is what Penn State needs in this Big Ten East matchup, as it has failed to convert in many big red-zone opportunities.
Will it be Biletnikoff semifinalist Dotson or three-time Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week Jordan Stout taking command on the stat sheet?
The game will air on Big Ten Network at noon on Saturday for the Nittany Lions’ Senior Day Game where they look to improve to 7-4 on the year.
Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.