Staff Predictions: No. 12 Penn State Football vs. Rutgers
It’s time for one more ride in Beaver Stadium.
Penn State football closes out its 2023 homestand with a visit from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday, November 18. The Nittany Lions fell 24-15 against Michigan last week, effectively ending their Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff hopes. However, life goes on against a feisty Scarlet Knights team. Our staffers unanimously predict Penn State to win, although some think it could be a nail-biter.
Rico Gore (9-1): Penn State 35, Rutgers 13
Rutgers is finally not a terrible team this year. This game will be much more competitive than it has been in years past. Expect some explosive offense and riskier plays as training for next year is all that it feels like there’s left to play for.
Brady Miller (7-2): Penn State 45, Rutgers 7
Coming off the performance a week ago, I’m not sure what to make of this Penn State team. I think the Nittany Lions will be motivated after the firing of their offensive coordinator and will use this game to string together some momentum for the rest of the season.
Cooper Cazares (5-2): Penn State 35, Rutgers 13
Penn State is coming off of another disappointing loss to Michigan. Morale is low, and you can’t help but wonder how the team will respond. There is reason to fear that the team will mail it in the rest of the season because of the loss of its offensive coordinator, no chance at a playoff berth, and lack of fan support due to the upcoming Thanksgiving break. If there was a trap game for the Nittany Lions, it would be this Rutgers team that’s better than in years past. However, I still think the Nittany Lions cover the 20.5-point spread and roll past the Scarlet Knights on Saturday.
Fernando Martinez (6-1) Penn State 34, Rutgers 10
Despite the loss to Michigan last week, the Nittany Lions still have a lot to play for in their matchup against Rutgers.
Penn State has a great opportunity to be selected for a New Year’s Six Bowl, and it must make sure the loss to Michigan doesn’t deter the team’s focus. The offense played horrendously last week and, as a result, Penn State made the right call to fire the offensive coordinator. Even though I have questions about how the offense will operate with a new coordinator, I think this firing will motivate the offense to play its best to prove its talent.
As for Rutgers, I don’t see it going toe-to-toe against Penn State’s elite defense. I understand that it gave Ohio State a run for its money two weeks ago, but this team is just not good against the best teams. It hasn’t beaten a ranked team this season and got shut out by Iowa last week. As a result, I expect the Nittany Lions to play well on both sides of the ball in their final home game this season and get a much-needed victory against a reeling Rutgers team.
CJ Gill (6-1): Penn State 23, Rutgers 20
James Franklin-led teams don’t like to play well following a loss. It dates back to his 2017 team who would have gotten into the playoff if it showed up against Michigan State. This Penn State team almost dropped a game to a bad Indiana team just a few weeks ago following the Ohio State loss. It’s fair to say the loss a week ago to the Wolverines hurt even more than the loss in Columbus. I don’t have high hopes that Penn State will come out of the gates and play well this Saturday against a better-than-normal Rutgers team.
It’ll be close in the fourth quarter, and it may even come down to the final possession. This program has been hit hard over the past month, and I don’t think firing Mike Yurcich will change things. I don’t have faith this team will respond well to adversity either — nothing has shown us it will. Penn State could lose this Saturday. And if it does, don’t act so shocked when history keeps repeating itself.
Michael Siroty (4-0): Penn State 37, Rutgers 20
If there was one word to describe how I expect this game to go, it’d be: weird. Without a true offensive coordinator, the Nittany Lions might get off to a slow start, but that will also lead to Drew Allar potentially opening up his arsenal a little more. Rutgers has looked better this season than in years past, but coming off a shutout loss to Iowa, Kyle Monangai and the Scarlet Knight offense will likely run into some trouble against the Penn State defensive line.
Mitchell Corcoran (5-2): Penn State 31, Rutgers 10
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a very good gauge on this game. I don’t know what to expect out of the offense or from the team in general. But what I do know, is that Penn State, historically, plays very well against Rutgers. The Nittany Lions are 32-2 all-time against the Scarlet Knights. I also know that Penn State still has an elite defense. If the offense can be average, then I like Penn State to win by a significant margin.
However, it’s possible that this team just lays an egg in a game they’re supposed to win a week after a tough loss or they will come out with their hair on fire and dominate from the jump because they had a tough loss the week before. No matter what happens, I think it will say a lot about the culture James Franklin has built.
Jamie Lynch (5-2): Penn State 28, Rutgers 7
Well, we made it: the last game in Beaver Stadium of the 2023 season. It’s certainly been a year filled with a lot of emotions — mostly good ones — but as we enter home game No. 7, things seem a bit different. Penn State is without an offensive coordinator. It’s no longer in a position to win the Big Ten or qualify for the College Football Playoff. Though upsetting to many, it is an all-too-familiar feeling for the Nittany Lion faithful.
I think Penn State comes up with the win in this one, and the defense reverts to its usual dominance. But there’s no other way to put this: if the Lions want to finish out the season strong and look for another opportunity to make the playoff next season, the offense needs to step it up. There seems to be a lack of fluidity amongst the group at the moment. With plenty still to play for, something needs to change. This team has talent, no doubt. But what it needs is playmakers. Each member of the group needs to find it within them to fight until the end and get the job done. It starts on Saturday.
Cadyn Gill (1-1): Penn State 33, Rutgers 13
Penn State got rid of Mike Yurchich after its awful loss to Michigan. I think that is what makes this upcoming matchup against the Scarlet Knights so interesting. My gut tells me that the Nittany Lions are going to cut Drew Allar loose and let him throw the ball all over the yard to gain some confidence and build toward a bowl game and the 2024 season. The Penn State defense will show up and keep the Rutgers offense in containment. I don’t believe this game will be very fun to watch, but nonetheless, the Nittany Lions will come out victorious.
Nolan Wick (9-1): Penn State 27, Rutgers 13
Penn State should win this game, but I also wouldn’t be that surprised if it didn’t. The team is vulnerable after losing to Michigan and firing the offensive coordinator, and Rutgers is a scrappy team capable of making it a game.
The first half might be close, but the Nittany Lions will pull away in a low-scoring affair in the second half to send the seniors out on a good note.
CJ Doebler (8-2): Penn State 24, Rutgers 20
After what happened when the team tried to bounce back against Indiana, I think this game could turn out to be a real issue for Penn State. James Franklin maintains that morale is high in the locker room, and he thinks the change in staff will work out well this week. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced it will be a smooth transition, especially if playcalling suddenly becomes more aggressive.
Rutgers kept it close throughout the early part of its game against Michigan and briefly held a lead in its game against Ohio State before becoming bowl-eligible for the second time since 2021. I don’t think Penn State loses this game, but in front of a smaller Thanksgiving-break crowd, it could get interesting.
Joe Lister (9-1): Penn State 35, Rutgers 21
This game is looking like Indiana, the sequel.
It’s a reasonably bad Big Ten opponent directly following a loss to a really good Big Ten opponent. It’s a quiet crowd that doesn’t quite fill up. It’s a coaching staff with a lot to prove and a team that’s feeling disgruntled. Penn State wins this one, but you aren’t going to feel good about it. Look for some magic early in the fourth quarter to actually put this one away, even if the Scarlet Knights hang on for longer than they should.
Keeley Lamm (8-2): Penn State 44, Rutgers 10
I’ll never bet against the Nittany Lions.
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About the Author
Fifteen years ago, three freshmen in 43 Simmons Hall published “Rumor Mill,” a 29-word article post marking the start of Onward State on November 17, 2008.
Morett-Curtiss chatted about her experience as a two-sport student-athlete at Penn State, what it was like to play in the Olympics, and how she made Happy Valley her home.
The Nittany Lions haven’t won in Ann Arbor since 2019.