Staff Predictions: No. 10 Penn State Football vs. Rutgers
No. 10 Penn State football (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) will close out its regular season with a game against Rutgers (2-9, 0-8 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions will take the field of Beaver Stadium one more time before awaiting their postseason destination. Before finding that out, however, the team has to go 1-0 this week against a lowly Rutgers side that hasn’t had the best luck this year.
Starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski and top running back Raheem Blackshear are both voluntarily redshirting this season and have reportedly entered the transfer portal, and a defeat at Beaver Stadium would seal the Scarlet Knights’ third season with zero Big Ten victories.
Because of all that — and Rutgers’ botched hiring of Greg Schiano, of course — our staff is confident in Penn State handling its business on Saturday.
Andy Mollenauer (7-1): Penn State 38, Rutgers 14
While this is an all-but-guaranteed win, I’m not expecting a blowout like in recent years. With Sean Clifford’s status uncertain, Will Levis is set to play in some capacity — if not get the start in the Nittany Lions’ regular season finale. While the young backup has limited experience, he’d have the luxury of facing a soft defense that’s giving up an average of 37.5 points per game.
With a handful of reliable running backs to share some of the workload, either quarterback should do just fine. Penn State will have a lot to play for in order to secure the best possible bowl game, so James Franklin’s squad should come out swinging and notch a solid win to finish the season at 10-2.
Gabe Angieri (3-1): Penn State 41, Rutgers 0
There’s no other way to say it: Rutgers is a really bad football team. I think the Nittany Lions will pitch a shutout against the Scarlet Knights, who have been shut out three times already this season, after a strong performance against Ohio State last week.
Whether it’s Sean Clifford or Will Levis starting, the Penn State offense will be able to have its way with a Rutgers defense that’s given up 40 points four times against Big Ten teams this year. Penn State will take care of business and end the regular season with a 10-2 record before awaiting its postseason fate.
Owen Abbey (0-0): Penn State 45, Rutgers 20
I don’t believe the Scarlet Knights will present Penn State with much of a challenge. This game is extremely important though for the future of the Nittany Lions for a number of reasons.
Will Sean Clifford play or Will Levis continue to build off of a quality game last week against Ohio State? Who will step up with Justin Shorter no longer listed on Penn State’s roster? Does Pat Freiermuth play well enough and decide to go pro? A lot of these questions could be answered in this game.
At the end of the day, the Nittany Lions have exceeded preseason expectations by a long shot. Many said this team was an 8-4 squad at best, but a win against Rutgers would give Penn State its third 10-win season in the past four years. The Nittany Lions only lost against two ranked, quality opponents on the road in Minnesota and Ohio State.
Matt DiSanto (10-1): Penn State 41, Rutgers 10
I can’t think of a better way to end the regular season than taking out some pent-up aggression on Rutgers. The Nittany Lions played Ohio State pretty well last weekend, and it’s hard for me to envision them not dropping a bunch of touchdowns on the lowly Scarlet Knights.
I expect Journey Brown to lead the run game once again and rack up another score or two, and hopefully Sean Clifford can get back on track ahead of Penn State’s bowl assuming he plays.
Don’t think too much about this one, folks. Pick Penn State, smash the over, and enjoy the carnage.
Jarod Kutz (3-2): Penn State 51, Rutgers 13
The Nittany Lions will play a clean football game to end the regular season on Saturday against the Scarlet Knights.
It doesn’t matter if Sean Clifford or Will Levis gets the nod at quarterback as the former deals with a nagging injury — the offense will produce either way. Along with great quarterback performance(s), Journey Brown should carry his impressive run of form into the Nittany Lions’ regular season finale.
Sean Spencer’s Wild Dogs have been fairly quiet over the past few weeks, but I expect them to break out with three or more sacks against the Scarlet Knights on Saturday afternoon.
Will Pegler (9-2): Penn State 38, Rutgers 7
Rutgers sucks at the sport of football, and that’s just a fact. Even though Sean Clifford is questionable to play this weekend with an injury, the Nittany Lions will make easy work of the measly Scarlet Knights this Saturday.
For starters, Penn State’s defense is going to dominate Rutgers’ offensive unit. I expect several sacks between Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney. On the offensive side, I think Journey Brown will have a big day while KJ Hamler will have a resurgent performance with several big catches.
The Nittany Lions may come out flat after an emotional loss to Ohio State, but they won’t take long to get going and put away Rutgers. The win will seal yet another double-digit victory season for James Franklin and a chance at a New Years Six Bowl.
Mikey Mandarino (9-1): Penn State 69, Rutgers 0
Rutgers football has suffered a lifetime’s worth of pain and ~adversity~ throughout the 2019 season. First of all, former starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski and running back Raheem Blackshear are both in the transfer portal, and they’re both voluntarily redshirting this year in order to maintain a season of NCAA eligibility.
If that wasn’t enough, Greg Schiano — the last man to lead Rutgers’ football program to respectable levels as head coach — reportedly spurned the Scarlet Knights after contract negotiations broke down. The deal might not be entirely dead yet, but initial reports that Schiano was completely out of the running sparked a huge negative response from Rutgers fans and, more importantly, donors.
The larger point here is simple: Rutgers takes Ls all the time, and Penn State will hand this band of Jersey boys another fat L on Saturday afternoon. It won’t matter if Sean Clifford or Will Levis starts at quarterback, as the Nittany Lions will score a magically nice number of points while Rutgers’ depleted offense will fail to do anything against Micah Parsons and co.
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The conference will attempt to play in the spring.
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