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Here’s Your Rivalry: Penn State 28, Rutgers 3

A depleted Rutgers team came into Beaver Stadium on Saturday night looking for revenge for last year’s three-point loss in Piscataway, and to spark a rivalry. It did not do those things. Penn State’s most complete game of the year resulted in a 28-3 win, highlighted by one of the best rushing attacks Penn State has displayed in a while.

How It Happened

Penn State received the ball to start the game, and a Nick Scott scamper to the 34-yard line was the first of what was expected to be many impressive returns from the Nittany Lions. The first few offensive plays looked promising, but penalties stifled its momentum and forced a punt. An impressive play by who else but Jordan Lucas started Rutgers’ drive at its two-yard line, then got stuffed three time to give Penn State possession back in friendly territory. A few drives later, Lucas was flagged for a personal foul which kick-started a long Rutgers series. Eventually Rutgers was forced to punt, which resulted in a touchback. The first play of the next series was a successful screen pass (!!!), a 30-yard catch-and-run from Chris Godwin. From there, a balanced rushing attack from Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley moved Penn State deep into its attacking territory as the quarter came to a close.

The second quarter started off just according to plan. DaeSean Hamilton reeled in a bullet from Hackenberg at the five-yard line, then DeAndre Thompkins took an end-around to score with 12 minutes left in the half. The teams traded three-and-outs until Penn State started a drive deep in its own territory. The first play of the series was a play-action call that Rutgers bit hard on, and ended up being a 48-yard connection between Hackenberg and Hamilton. Later that drive, Saquon Barkley showed off his abilities on a hard cut through the defense for a 15-yard touchdown. Rutgers responded with a three-and-out, and then:

Lynch’s run capped off what was easily the best quarter and half of the season. A Grant Haley pick sealed the half, and Penn State ran off the field with a commanding 21-0 lead.

The second half started off uneventfully, as neither team could put together any offense at first. The most promising drive of the early quarter was a three-minute affair that saw Rutgers go as deep in Penn State territory as it had all game. When it looked like the Knights had all of the momentum, freshman cornerback John Reid jumped on the play and picked off Laviano, then returned it to Rutgers’ 35. A 15-yard penalty pushed the team back to midfield, then the drive ultimately ended with a turnover on downs. Rutgers followed it up with a three-and-out, and again, both offenses showed trouble communicating as most drives were very short. Highlights of the quarter were a first-down scamper from Saquon Barkley that looked at first like a definite loss of yards, and a nine-yard rush from Hackenberg that ended up just short of a first down, despite his full extension trying to get there.

Rutgers’ best opportunity to that point came at the start of the fourth quarter. Laviano led his offense all the way to the 11-yard line, then Rutgers was forced to kick a field goal to break up the shutout. Penn State marched all the way down the field, but its promising drive ended with a Hackenberg interception at the one-yard line. Rutgers’ next drive, after consecutive plays that totaled 50 yards, ended abruptly with three straight sacks.

The next drive, if you blinked, you might have missed. First, Saquon Barkley rushed for 54 yards, then added a 16-yard touchdown. Two plays, 70 yards, 45 seconds, seven points. Rutgers’ next drive ended as quickly as it began, as John Reid recovered a fumble and Penn State started over at the 39-yard line. Trace McSorley entered the game at quarterback and Mark Allen at running back, and the game came to an uneventful but convincing end. Penn State 28, Rutgers 3.

Player Of The Game

Penn State’s rushing offense was the most impressive facet of the team in this game. Four touchdown rushes and 330 rushing yards is simply unreal. Saquon Barkley led the way with 195 yards and two scores, and what we thought was a breakout performance last week is starting to look like the norm — we’ve seen a star be born in this Penn State offense.

Tweet Of The Game

An almost filled up Beaver Stadium looked amazing under the lights with the Stripe Out. The football program’s newest promotion should become a tradition.

What’s Next?

Penn State is back in action at Beaver Stadium next weekend as San Diego State comes to town for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

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About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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