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Penn State @ Rutgers Game Preview

If we win this everything will seem so much better

Penn State v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Penn State @ Rutgers

This is the last hope for our seniors. Win this, and they enjoyed their senior year. Win this and maybe people will stop trolling our posts despite other sports actually performing well in the Big Ten. Win this and we have bragging rights. Win this, and we will have pandemonium in Piscataway.

Location: High Point Solutions Stadium | Piscataway, NJ

Time: 8pm ET

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: WOR 710-AM, WCTC 1450-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, WNJE 920-AM, WRSU 88.7-FM

Line: -28 Penn State

Other On the Banks Previews

This One is for the Seniors

Know Thy Enemy

Rutgers Depth Chart and Spread

Complete Opponent Preview

Q&A With Black Shoe Diaries

The Tale of the Tape

Rutgers has been absolutely abysmal this season. Penn State has not been abysmal by any stretch of the imagination as they have moved into the top ten in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Some do believe, though, that Penn State’s win over Ohio State was a fluke. Regardless, Trace McSorley has had a stellar year throwing the ball and Saquon Barkley has been a monster out of the backfield for the Nittany Lions. If Rutgers’ defense can put together a solid showing Saturday night, things may get rowdy on the banks.

Rutgers has had their issues out of the gate and on third downs this season and this game really should not be much different. The crowd, though, should be a difference maker in this one.

How Rutgers Wins

There is most certainly no easy path for Rutgers to win this game. Penn State has all of the momentum and the players needed to emerge victors in this game. As I said above, the crowd should make a difference. Rutgers hates Penn State and this has emerged to be quite the rivalry. It cannot be a true rivalry, though, until Rutgers hands them a significant loss, which they plan to do this week.

Rutgers’ defense really needs to step up. Stopping Barkey from running all over them will be tough, but, if they do, it will put the game all on the quarterback. While Rutgers’ secondary has had major issues, especially since the bye week, they could very easily come out ready to play. This one is for the seniors and you should expect the team to play hard for their seniors and Janarion Grant.

Robert Martin and Giovanni Rescigno are both a week healthier which should make matters better offensively. Martin needs to keep driving his legs and fight for yardage and Gio needs to make better decisions. If the offense plays clean football and the defense can win the turnover battle, there may be a chance for Rutgers to upset the potential Big Ten champions.

How Penn State Wins

Penn State wins if they come out and they get Rutgers in a deep hole, which has happened all too often this season. Penn State needs to run the ball down Rutgers’ throats and use that to open up the passing game. Again, Rutgers’ secondary is not very good so look for the Nittany Lions to exploit that weakness.

SImply put, Penn State cannot let the crowd get the better of them. They will need to be able to call plays seamlessly and put the ball in their playmakers’ hands. If Penn State can take care of the football, they will win, and probably pretty convincingly too. It is a much easier path to victory for Penn State than in years past and a much easier path than Rutgers has this year.

Official Prediction

This one could get very ugly on Senior Day. Rutgers has shown fight but has not fought hard enough when it matters most. Penn State has all the momentum being ranked as high as they are after their win against Ohio State.

Penn State will run the ball right at Rutgers, just begging them to stop their rushing attack. If they do, McSorley will be slinging the ball all over the field. Rutgers will have a hard time stopping all aspects of the Nittany Lion offense.

I do not think Rutgers will go winless in the Big Ten this season. The win may not come against the Nittany Lions, but I have a strange feeling that the third time is the charm. I know it is extraordinarily bold, but I believe Rutgers can somehow pull this off. Between the crowd and the desire to not be a laughingstock and the desire to send the seniors off with a bang, Rutgers can win. I have a feeling I will regret this but I believe the score will be Rutgers 24 Penn State 23 on a last second field goal from unlikely hero David Bonagura.

Even if the win does not happen, fight hard and play hard for the seniors and for themselves as a team and program. Lock up the recruits, lock up a win, and tell the haters to back off. We may have had a rough season, but the future is bright with young coaches and a young team.