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OTB Staff Predictions: Penn State At Rutgers

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Dave White: As I write this on Monday morning, the spread has Penn State favored by 27.5. Rutgers has been blown out of the water against the good teams in this conference. James Franklin is trying to turn the stands at HPSS white. There's a lot going on in this game and most of it is coming from Penn State's side. They control their own destiny to get to the Big Ten title game. But... there is something to playing spoiler. There is something to this game being Penn State under the lights on a Saturday. I don't know what it is. But this game will be will be close for 3 quarters. But, I feel like Penn State will pull away late. Penn State 40 Rutgers 21

David Anderson: Stranger things have happened in college football, but there’s a reason the spread is so high, as Dave pointed out. There is no scientific way to show how Rutgers could win this game other than luck, emotion, and a level of play from RU not seen yet in 2016. As has been said before, I’d take 3 wins this season over 5 for sure if one of those 3 is against the St. of PA. I am still bitter for the 1995 running up the score and Gary Nova missing two open receivers on a 3rd and 5 that might have iced the game in 2014. If Rutgers proves me wrong I might not even know right away since my Texan wife believes this particular opponent should have gotten the death penalty more than SMU and have therefore ceased to exist in our household. Penn State 42 Rutgers 13.

Bob Cancro: I...I...I am...I am trying to...stay upbeat. I am writing this prediction just after I finished writing posts about RU Wrestling and the Battle at the Birthplace, and Women’s Soccer in the NCAA Tournament. So, this kinda feels, ya know, sad. As Dave Anderson said, Rutgers has not shown much against better teams. And last week it didn’t show anything against a poor team. Franklin is babbling and carrying on, always an irritating situation. Can we pull the upset and ruin PSU’s run at a conference title? Uhhhhhh, no. At this point, I’m putting all my eggs in next week’s basket. Stay healthy for Maryland. Penn State 38 Rutgers 7

Cara Sanfilippo: Ugh, this is so tough. Never have I wanted Rutgers to pull out a win more than this game against Penn State. Especially because of James Franklin’s active social media presence regarding this game, and the disappointing loss at home two years ago. My dad is still fired up about that 1995 game David is referencing. An unexpected win against TTFP would somewhat redeem this season for me. I don’t necessarily think that we will be the 4 touchdown underdogs the spread is currently predicting, but as of now the Scarlet Knights haven’t shown they can pull out a win against Big 10 competition. I think Senior Day will inspire these players to play tough, and fight their way to a closer game than expected. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be enough for a win against a confident Penn State team. Penn State 38, Rutgers 14

Matthew Pisani: This should be interesting. This is the game I had circled on my calendar all year. Unfortunately, I will be in a warehouse working my seasonal job so I cannot watch. This is so close to being a rivalry it is not even close. If we win Saturday, it could be officially called a rivalry, in my opinion. The F*** Penn State chants may not be classy, but Penn State are not too classy themselves with their whole Jerry Sandusky incidents and getting special treatment having their bowl ban lifted much earlier than it was supposed to be. Let the haters talk all they want about those incidents, they will be forever engraved in my mind and disturb me till the day I die, fueling my hatred for this program that I used to actually enjoy watching as a kid. Rutgers is trying to eliminate the chants, but they will never be fully gone. If we are going to chant that, we must must must back them up with a win. We can close against Christian Hackenberg and got blown out last year. This is our time. Lets get it done for the seniors. The chances are extraordinarily slim, but we could catch the Nittany Lions napping and looking ahead. It is a gut feeling, probably a really stupid one, but I feel Rutgers can somehow someway magically pull this one off. I am probably the only one that believes so, but there has to be one right? It will be a grind and stressful, but a last second field goal will lift this team to a Big Ten win, a massive upset, and will trigger pandemonium in Piscataway. Rutgers 24 Penn State 23.

Aaron Breitman: You can google “not good” and there are countless synonyms you can use. I’ll pick my three favorite, which are rough, sad, and godawful. This will be another tough game for Rutgers fans to watch, as Penn State has far more talent on both sides of the ball and is a far better team. I hope Rutgers comes out playing hard on senior night in primetime, but it comes down to execution. Rutgers has failed to execute in big situations all season and until they do, there isn’t a lot of hope they will the rest of 2016. If Penn State can stifle the offense and force multiple three and outs, the defense will eventually wear down and break instead of just bend. That’s basically the story of this season in a nutshell and I see more of the same this Saturday. Penn State 42 Rutgers 7

RutgersNation86: When this game was first announced I was very excited; primetime under the lights, senior night, and a chance at redemption. While the season has not gone as I would have hoped I am still very excited, regardless of being home underdogs by 28 points. Do I think we can pull off the upset? Absolutely. Do I think we will? No. Looking back through the season’s results, there have been glimmers of hope, and a lot of positive takeaways, however the blowout loss to Michigan State has me extremely worried facing a Penn State team that is very hungry, and controls their own destiny to get to the Big Ten title game. The offense MUST be able to move the ball otherwise we could be in for a long night. The Scarlet Knights have shown the ability to hang with quality teams, and have lost three conference games by 7 points or less. At the end of the day I think the game stays close throughout the first half, but Rutgers eventually succumbs to Penn State’s ground game. Penn State 37 Rutgers 16

Michael Remuszka: Penn State comes into High Points Solutions Stadium ranked #9 in the country looking to close in on a berth in the Big 10 Championship. Rutgers comes into the game on a seven game losing streak after being shut out by a 2-7 Michigan State team. Rutgers offense just can’t seem to get things working and the defense has struggled mightily in conference play. Saturday’s game against Penn State can determine the true progress of the Rutgers football team looking towards the future and the 2017 season. It was expected that the offense would have difficulties in transitioning to a spread offense while the defense would be limited due to the depth issues and talent difference with other Big 10 teams. If we show that we can compete against a hot Penn State team, it will show the fan base and more importantly the recruits, that the future is something to look forward to and not dread.

On Senior Night, I am expecting this Rutgers team to show a lot of effort, but don’t think it will be enough to pull out a win against this Penn State team. Penn State has a very talented defensive line and I don’t know if this Rutgers offensive line can contain them. If the Rutgers fans show up and make the stadium electric, this can be a close game towards the end. Penn State 27 Rutgers 17

Griffin Whitmer: Rutgers has showed me nothing proving they can win this game. Their offense does not move the ball against good defenses. Their defense cannot stop the run. Penn State has a good defense and an elite running back is Saquan Barkley. It seems like every Rutgers weakness is mirrored by a Penn State strength. Penn State can be vulnerable in pass protection, but Rutgers hasn’t had much of a pass rush this season. This game does not stack up well for Rutgers on paper. However, it is senior night under the lights and anything can happen. With that being said, Penn State 31 Rutgers 0.

Jim Hoffman: Two years ago, Penn State rolled into town as our first-ever Big Ten football opponent. The scene was electric, and though the Scarlet Knights lost the game by three points on a last-minute touchdown, they acquitted themselves well. Moving forward to the game tomorrow, the differences could not be more glaring. Rutgers is struggling mightily, and has not won a single Big Ten conference game this season, while Penn State is ranked 9 or 10 in the country. Rutgers is fresh off a shellacking at the hands of a 3-7 Michigan State squad, and Penn State is on a string of wins, which counts a win over (possibly) playoff-bound Ohio State. If the cards fall the right way, Penn State may be in the playoff themselves. All of that is too much for a home field advantage to overcome. As Griffin said above, anything can happen, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Penn State 37 Rutgers 6

Scott Logan: Until this team proves it can show up ready to compete with the top teams in this conference, I'm done giving them the benefit of the doubt. Rutgers is horrifyingly bad at coming out of the gate ready to play, and if that's the case tomorrow, I think this game will effectively be over before the end of the first quarter. Yes, I know the personnel isn't quite ready for the big boys, but to this point play calling and preparation have left a lot to be desired, too. To have any chance in this game, Rutgers will need a strong performance from Gio, which means strong performances from his offensive line and supporting cast. Defensively, the front seven needs to hold Saquon Barkley in check, which would be a tall order even if Rutgers wasn't ranked 124th in the nation in rushing defense. Even the most optimistic part of me has a hard time feeling good about this game. Predicting we'll get on the board is the most I can muster up. Hope I'm wrong. Penn State 48, Rutgers 14

Bill Tharp: I want to be wrong and I hope that I am wrong but I see no way that this game is competitive. Penn State has a very strong running game and an explosive passing game, two of the biggest weaknesses that Rutgers has. Trace McSorley is equally adept at throwing and running and any chance of winning starts with containing him. As I watched last weeks game I thought to myself Rutgers is going to lose this game like 56-0 and I've talked myself off that cliff, but not by much. Tape is out there now on Rescigno, and teams are learning how to shut him down and the offensive line has performed worse every week. Any hope Rutgers fans have to hold on to comes down to the fact that Penn State struggles on the road and they had close games with Indiana and Minnesota. Penn State 45 Rutgers 0