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[Live Blog] Penn State vs. Rutgers

Good afternoon and welcome back to football, Penn State fans! The Nittany Lions are hosting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in tonight’s Big Ten opener. We will have updates throughout the game on this page, including game analysis, photos, and more. Here’s the media information you’ll need, and here’s our staff’s game predictions.

Fourth Quarter

3:41 — Penn State’s backups put up a three-and-out and time ran out while Rutgers was driving. Final score: Penn State 28, Rutgers 3.

4:21 — Rutgers fumble, John Reid recovery. The true freshmen are tearing up this fourth quarter.

5:06 — A 45-second drive might have been the most fun part of the game. Saquon Barkley started it off with a 54-yard run, then a 16-yard touchdown. Easy.

7:57 — Rutgers running back Josh Hicks, looking like he was trapped by Nassib in the end zone, broke off a 20-yard rush, which was followed by a 30-yard pass. On the next play, Jason Cabinda appeared to return a fumble for a touchdown, but it was ruled an incomplete pass instead. The next two plays were sacks, bringing up a third-and-30 — which ended with a sack.

10:35 — Penn State responded with an impressive  drive, starting at its own 23-yard line and quickly passing midfield. The tandem of Barkley and Lynch continued to frustrate Rutgers’ defense while also eating clock. The drive ended abruptly as a lob intended for Godwin was picked off by Rutgers at the one-yard line.

15:00 — Laviano picked up the first down on the first play of the quarter. The team kept moving easily, picking up first down after first down. The offense made it all the way to the 11-yard line, then a delay of game was called on fourth down. Still, Rutgers’ kicker buried a 34-yard field goal to break up the shutout.

Third Quarter

2:30 — Rutgers found itself facing a fourth-and-one after three plays on its next drive, but after lining up to punt, the referees ruled that the previous play resulted in a first down. The Knights faced a third-and-one as the quarter came to a close.

5:24 — Saquon Barkley continues to impress. He has as good of ball-carrier vision as anyone on the field, and consistently turns guaranteed stoppages into first downs. Hackenberg, not to be outdone, took a sure-fire sack and turned it into a nine-yard gain, just short of a first down.

6:52 — Despite taking over after a turnover on downs, the Scarlet Knights had no luck capitalizing on their momentum with yet another three-and-out.

8:17 — Penn State, gifted with good field position thanks to Reid’s pick, started the drive off with a 15-yard penalty to be pushed back to midfield. Its next three plays brought up a fourth-and-one, and a dive by Hackenberg went nowhere and resulted in a turnover on downs.

11:26 — Rutgers started off this drive with a 15-yard pickup to the 30-yard line. Soon after, linebacker Troy Reeder went down with an injury — a scary sight for an already under-staffed unit. Then, when the team started rolling, freshman John Reid stepped up on the ball and picked off Laviano, taking it all the way to the 35-yard line.

14:00  — Penn State’s first possession of the half was also short, as it immediately found itself facing a third-and-six, and the ensuing play was an incomplete pass intended for Chris Godwin.

15:00 — The second half started how the first one ended — with short Rutgers runs, incomplete passes, and a punt.

Second Quarter

1:04 — Next, Laviano lobbed an interception to Grant Haley to end the half. Penn State leads by three touchdowns, and Rutgers will receive to start the second half.

1:23 — The Scarlet Knights punted to Thompkins, who returned the ball to the 25-yard line. Then: Akeel Lynch, 75 yards untouched to the house. 21-0 Penn State.

2:06 — Rutgers took over needing a successful two-minute drill to keep itself alive before halftime, but almost immediately threw a pick to Lucas. Quarterback Chris Laviano looked like he was struggling with the rain, which had just begun to pour. The drive ended up as a three-and-out, courtesy of three passes that weren’t close.

5:32 — Rutgers’ latest uneventful drive at least gave Penn State the ball back in bad field position, but that immediately changed with a 48-yard connection between Hackenberg and Hamilton. The drive’s first four plays went for big gains, but that all changed with, you guessed it, an incomplete attempt at a screen pass. Finally, at the 15-yard line, Saquon Barkley torched the Rutgers defense to score his second career touchdown and put his team ahead 14-0.

9:39 — A mixture of John Donovan being himself and Christian Hackenberg missing short throws made its previous drive one of the shortest of the night. Gulla opted to punt to Rutgers’ star returner, and Lucas wrapped him up for a loss of one yard. Rutgers’ right guard Chris Muller went down early in the drive — Muller is arguably the team’s most important offensive lineman, and his absence is bad news for the team.

10:44 — Mike Gesicki finally got in on the action, as the first play of Penn State’s next drive went for six yards to the talented tight end. Then, like clockwork, a screen pass resulted in a loss of two yards.

12:10 — Julius purposely avoided kicking to star return man Janarion Grant, and Rutgers started off deep in its own territory before a three-and-out. Lucas stepped up again, adding to an already impressive first-half performance.

15:00 — Barkley started off the quarter by showing off his shifty abilities as Penn State moved further down the field. Hackenberg then fired a bullet to Hamilton, who went down at the five-yard line. After Akeel Lynch was stopped, DeAndre Thompkins showed off his speed on an end-around and easily found the end zone. Following a Joey Julius extra point, the Nittany Lions led 7-0 with 12 minutes to go in the half.

First Quarter

3:12 — Penn State’s next drive started off with a huge catch-and-run from Chris Godwin from the 20-yard line to the 50. Then, a balanced rushing attack that featured both Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley moved Penn State to its offensive 30-yard line as the quarter came to a close.

7:48 — The next drive for Rutgers started off with some rough stuff as Jordan Lucas initiated some extracurricular activities and was flagged on a personal foul. Rutgers picked up first down after first down as it marched into Penn State territory. After three new sets of downs, Penn State was able to force a punt, which ended up being a touchback.

8:45 — DeAndre Thompkins returned the punt to the 35-yard line to start Penn State’s second drive. Two fruitless plays followed by a pass into triple coverage brought up a Joey Julius kick, which was in turn negated by a delay of game penalty. Chris Gulla punted deep into Rutgers territory again.

10:55 — Rutgers started at the two-yard line, then a false start pushed it back to the one. On first down, a four-yard rush gave the offense some breathing room. Two consecutive stuffs and a short rush brought up a punt that was snapped at the five-yard line.

15:00 — Rutgers won the toss and deferred, so Penn State started with the ball. A Nick Scott return gave the offense the ball starting at the 34-yard line, then an immediate slant to DaeSean Hamilton and an Akeel Lynch rush resulted in an immediate first down. Three penalties across two plays stifled the snowballing offense, and the ensuing Chris Gulla punt was downed by Jordan Lucas at the two-yard line.


The Blue Band has taken the field for the first time this year, after a wet home opener kept them in the stands. Needless to say, the performance went very well.

AccuWeather is predicting a 60 percent chance of storms around kickoff time. If you’re not at the game yet, plan accordingly.

Jordan Lucas announced before the game that he’ll wear No. 5 in honor of his injured teammate and friend Nyeem Wartman-White.

Polarizing last week’s rainy, barren game, the tailgating lots this afternoon were packed and loud.

Beaver Stadium played host to one unexpected visitor today, while another was notably absent.

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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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