Staff Predictions: No. 8 Penn State vs. Rutgers
Our sports staff is fairly confident James Franklin’s Nittany Lions cruise to an easy victory over Rutgers in Piscataway.
Anthony Colucci: Penn State 40, Rutgers 9
The Nittany Lions head to New Jersey riding a six-game winning streak and coming off of a tough 45-31 win over Indiana where they once again proved that they can beat the teams that they should be beating. As miserable as this Rutgers team is, this is the only game on its schedule that matters to it so maybe that intensity alone will keep the score relatively close by the Scarlet Knights’ standards. Considering Penn State’s chronic struggles in the first half, it might take a few possessions for the offense to get rolling, but once it finds it rhythm, Saturday will be an easy ride to 9-2 as the Lions continue to fight for first place in the Big Ten East.
Joe Pickard: Penn State 52, Rutgers 0
Penn State knows what it has to do to finish the season and James Franklin has shown he can keep his boys focused on the game at hand and not the media hype. (Rutgers, Rutgers, Rutgers….) Look for Saquon Barkley to tear it up out there as usual. His first game against Rutgers he had almost 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns. This one should be all Penn State, helping some young guys along the o-line to get important reps before heading into a bowl/potential postseason play. The Nittany Lions should be able to leave New Jersey with a big win to impress various committees (CFP, Bowl Committees) and cover the now 27-point spread.
David Abruzzese: Penn State 42, Rutgers 10
Normally, I’d say the Lions need to be wary of a trap game, but I just don’t see that happening against this team. Against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan, the Scarlet Knights were outscored 158-0. You’re reading that correctly. Darius Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with up front, and he’ll do plenty of damage, but one player cannot save the sinking ship.
On the flip side, the Lions are simply rolling. Saquon Barkley figures to go off in his first game in New Jersey since decommitting from Rutgers and signing on with Penn State. The Lions should control this one from the get-go and send the High Point Solutions Stadium crowd home disappointed. There should be no surprises Saturday night.
Robbie Rockwell: Penn State 56, Rutgers 3
I am really looking forward to this game. Under the lights at Rutgers is a hostile environment, but it’s no Happy Valley, and I’m confident the Lions will prevail rather easily. Getting shut out by three teams is not very easy but Rutgers somehow found a way, so I’m pretty confident the defense will keep the Scarlet Knights out of the end zone all night. The Penn State offensive line will have to adjust a little, but Rutgers’ defense isn’t anything special either. I think Trace, Saquon, and the rest of the offense will have a field day out there, putting up 56 points — 14 coming from Barkley, who will also run for over 150 yards.
Mitch Stewart: Penn State 59, Rutgers 10
There isn’t too much to be said for this week’s game. Rutgers has only beaten one FBS team this year: New Mexico. With the recent offensive line woes and the linebacker drama earlier this season, Penn State is just hoping to have a clean game and no injuries, with a potential Big Ten Championship berth still a possibility. Expect backups Tommy Stevens, Miles Sanders, and other young offensive players to get a lot of reps this Saturday night, while James Franklin and Joe Moorhead attempt to challenge the new-look offensive line with some tougher games still left to be played.
Ethan Kasales: Penn State 48, Rutgers 7
Although Saturday’s contest will take place in a “fun” environment, Penn State should get out to a strong start. The Scarlet Knights have given up a staggering 134 points to their opponents in the first quarter thus far, only scoring 27 of their own. Mike Gesicki and the rest of the New Jersey Nittany Lions will have a little extra motivation with friends and family turning out in droves. Expect the junior tight end to haul in a pair of touchdowns in Piscataway.
What do you think the score will be? Let us know in the comments.