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Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Rutgers

Penn State football (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) will host Rutgers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) at noon on Saturday, September 20, at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions will celebrate Senior Day with their final home game of the season, which doubles as Penn State’s Military Appreciation Game. The Scarlet Knights, who haven’t beaten Penn State since 1988, are coming off of an impressive 38-3 win over Indiana this past weekend.

Although Penn State’s coming off a tough loss, even our most critical staffers know the Nittany Lions aren’t losing to Rutgers.

Connor Krause (5-2): Penn State 24, Rutgers 13

After being sacked seven times, already-depleted quarterback Sean Clifford took about half a season’s worth of hits in last week’s loss against Michigan. Aside from Clifford, the status of Jahan Dotson and several starters on the offensive line remain unclear heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Scarlet Knights. 

Penn State will win the game, but with how beat up the Nittany Lions are on offense, I can’t see a way James Franklin’s squad wins by more than the currently set 17-point spread. I expect Brent Pry’s defense to hold explosive running back Isaih Pacheco in check, and limit the Rutgers offense to only one touchdown on the day.

Saturday will finally be the day Penn State finds enough momentum on the ground to grind out Rutgers, but in no way will the Nittany Lions performance be chalked up as pretty.

Ethan Bell (3-2): Penn State 31, Rutgers 10

Penn State played really well on the defensive side of the ball last weekend against Michigan, but the offense did not. Expect a complete game from the Nittany Lions when they throttle the Scarlett Knights.

Mikey DeAngelis (6-2): Penn State 27, Rutgers 17

While Penn State has lost four out of its last five games (yikes), it has shown against both Ohio State and Michigan that it has the capabilities to play well. Rutgers, no offense to, isn’t the historically dominant football program that Ohio State or Michigan is. I believe the Nittany Lions will come away with a comfortable victory in their final home game of the season.

Sam Fremin (3-2): Penn State 54, Rutgers 3

Coming off of yet another disappointing loss, the Nittany Lions are not going to let themselves get embarrassed again, especially not to a team that lost to Wisconsin 52-3, and not on Senior Day. I know fans are not bullish on Penn State right now, but that’s no reason to bet on Rutgers. Death. Taxes. Penn State eviscerating Rutgers during Thanksgiving Break.

Sam Brungo (6-4): Penn State 17, Rutgers 13

I’m not going to lie, this seems like a trap game to me. Penn State will play a bit defeated, and it will catch up to it. Ultimately, the defense comes up with a big stop and Clifford kneels the ball to end this game. We’ll see some depth as the season starts to come to a close with little to play for, but a half-full Beaver Stadium enjoys watching some of its seniors for the last time. State by four.

Gabe Angieri (6-4): Penn State 34, Rutgers 14

Penn State is not losing to Rutgers.

Will Pegler (8-2): Penn State 21, Rutgers 10

Penn State doesn’t lose to Rutgers. However, these games are always weird, to say the very least.

I don’t see James Franklin’s team covering the 17-point spread. In fact, I see the Scarlet Knights striking first and setting the tone for a somewhat-close battle at Beaver Stadium. Even with that, the Nittany Lions’ firepower in Jahan Dotson will be enough to slide by Rutgers by a fairly comfortable margin.

While the offense does enough, Brent Pry’s defense will bounce back from the early score and shut down Rutgers for the rest of the afternoon, other than a field goal.

Again, Penn State has had a strange year and has played down to its competition for all of this season. Despite that, the Nittany Lions will not lose to the Scarlet Knights.

Ryan Parsons (8-2): Penn State 28, Rutgers 13

This game might end up being too close for comfort, but I do not see Penn State actually losing. How many points the Nittany Lions are able to scavenge together is a big variable, but I don’t think the defense will allow more than two touchdowns. Ideally, you’d like to see Penn State build a big lead and let Veilleux get some run, but that’s a luxury the Nittany Lions really can’t afford at the moment.

Frankie Marzano (6-3): Penn State 31, Rutgers 21

This game will be oddly close. I don’t think the morale in the program is anywhere near 100% following its heartbreaking loss to Michigan. Rutgers will keep it tight until Penn State finally breaks out in the fourth quarter and gets its win on Senior Day.

Matt DiSanto (6-4): Penn State 27, Rutgers 17

Finish the fight. One last ride.

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