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Penn State’s Post-Rutgers Report Card

Penn State kept the ball rolling toward a potential New Year’s Six berth with a crushing 55-10 victory over Rutgers in Piscataway Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions’ defense was on full display, scoring two scoop-and-score touchdowns and almost a pick-six that was called back for an illegal block in the back away from the play. True freshman Nick Singleton also razzle-dazzled with a 100-yard kick return touchdown, the first of his career.

All in all, it was a great day for the Nittany Lions. So, let’s hand out some grades.

Quarterbacks: B+

In all fairness, Sean Clifford and Drew Allar weren’t really given many opportunities to sling it and throw the ball beyond the sticks. Clifford finished the game with 157 passing yards, a passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown. He didn’t really do anything wrong and did what he needed to do to under center to lead Penn State to victory.

It was the same story for Drew Allar, who had an OK showing. He did register a rushing touchdown, though, which was pretty cool.

Running Backs: A

What more can we say about Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen? This duo is unbelievable, combining for 179 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Singleton also had a kick return touchdown on top of that, too. Singleton displayed his more physical running style that we saw last weekend, while Allen continued what he’s been doing all season. Allen literally carried about four players into the end zone on his third-quarter touchdown. He also had a sweet 59-yard run to set up that score.

Tank Smith also saw some action in the game and gave Drew Allar a beautiful block to set up his rushing touchdown.

Wide Receivers: A-

This group handled Parker Washington’s absence very well. It seemed like everyone was able to seamlessly slide up into their roles, with Trey Wallace serving as a reliable receiving option for Clifford. Wallace finished the game with three catches for 49 yards, and Tinsley led the group with five catches for 63 yards. The pass distribution was there, too, as 10 different players caught a pass in the game.

Tight Ends: A-

Penn State’s tight ends also had a solid day. Brenton Strange was probably the most active of them all, finishing the game with four catches for 24 yards. He also provided Clifford with a great block on his 14-yard rushing touchdown. Tyler Warren got in on the action with a 10-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the day and Penn State’s only receiving touchdown of the day.

Offensive Line: A-

The offensive line struggled a bit to start the game, as Clifford got hurried a few times and was sacked once on the first few drives of the game, but it regained its footing from there. In total, the group allowed only two sacks and three QB hurries. That’s pretty good in its own right. The line also contributed to Penn State’s 237 rushing yards throughout the game, too.

Front Seven: A+

Besides the fact that Rutgers only had 32 rushing yards throughout the game, Penn State’s front seven also forced a turnover and scored a touchdown. Curtis Jacobs forced the fumble that Ji’Ayir Brown picked up and scored on in the third quarter, while Kobe King scored on a fumble that Marquis Wilson forced in the first quarter.

The group also sacked Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt four times. That’s a great day.

Secondary: A

Again, this group contributed to the scoring immensely with the turnovers. Ji’Ayir Brown returned a fumble to the house, while Marquis Wilson forced a fumble that was also returned.

Johnny Dixon almost returned an interception for a touchdown, but it was called back due to an illegal block in the back that wouldn’t have impacted the play. The group also handled Joey Porter Jr.’s absence very well, only allowing 122 passing yards and fully embodying Penn State’s “next man up” mentality.

Special Teams: A-

It was a crazy day for the special teams unit. Of course, Nick Singleton’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is what will catch everyone’s eyes, as it should.

Jake Pinegar and Sander Sahaydak also had perfect days in terms of kicking. Pinegar nailed his only field goal attempt of the day and was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points. Sahaydak also made his first collegiate field goal during the game.

Punting was a different story. Barney Amor struggled a bit in the beginning of the game with a few subpar punts. Alex Bacchetta came into the game to replace him at one point, but he dropped the ball on a punt attempt. Amor came back into the game after that, and it seemed like he was back to his usual self.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected]

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