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Rutgers Football Game #12 Preview at no. 10/12 Penn State

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Nittany Lions looking to punch New Year’s Bowl ticket.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers
Penn State didn’t bring their A game last year and still won easily.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Rutgers (2-9; 0-8) At no. 10/12 Penn State (9-2; 6-2)

Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

Kick-off: Saturday, November 30 at 3:31 p.m. EST

Weather: 36 degrees, cloudy with a 1% chance of rain, 3 mph winds

TV: BTN with Brandon Gaudin, James Laurinaitis, and Elise Menaker

Stream: FOX Sports App

Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network with Chris Carlin, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli - Rutgers IMG Sports Network: WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, WNJE 920-AM, XM 382. (WRSU 88.7-FM)

Current Spread: Penn State -40.5

Against The Spread: Rutgers 3-8; Penn State 6-5

Series History: Penn State is 5-0 since RU joined the Big Ten, currently on a 12 game overall winning streak.

SB Nation Penn State site: Black Shoe Diaries

Penn State Statistical Leaders

Passing: Sean Clifford - 178 for 299 pass attempts, 59.5%, 2521 yards, 22 TD, 6 INT; Will Levis - 20 for 33 pass attempts, 60.6%, 142 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT;

Rushing: Journey Brown - 585 yards on 97 attempts, 6.0 ypc, 7 TD; Sean Clifford - 374 yards on 103 attempts, 3.6 ypc, 5 TD; Noah Cain - 351 yards on 69 attempts, 5.1 ypc, 6 TD;

Receiving: KJ Hamler - 49 catches for 836 yards, 17.1 ypc, 8 TD; Pat Freiermuth - 40 catches for 464 yards, 11.6 ypc, 7 TD; Jahan Dotson - 23 catches for 418 yards, 18.2 ypc, 3 TD; Journey Brown - 13 catches for 127 yards, 9.8 ypc, 1 TD;

Defense: Micah Parsons - 85 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 PD, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles; Garrett Taylor - 68 tackles, 4 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 2 PD; Cameron Brown - 62 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 3 PD, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble

Kicking: Jake Pinegar - 47 for 48 PAT’s, 10 for 11 FG attempts, Long of 47 yards

Penn State Statistical Comparison Versus Rutgers

S&P+ Advanced Stats Profiles: Penn State | Rutgers

What To Watch For

McLane Carter. Art Sitkowski. John McNulty. Nunzio Campanile / Johnny Langan watch

Interim Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Nunzio Campanile might as well pull out all the stops if this is the final college game he ever gets to coach as a head man. Penn State’s defensive front is roughly on par with Michigan State’s who RU did nothing against on the ground last week. Penn State’s only defensive weakness is their secondary per out Q & A with the Black Shoe Diaries. So Isaih Pacheco, Aaron Young, and Kay’Ron Adams will likely be grounded all day.

PSU has seven players with at least two sacks, so the RU offensive line will need to hold up and give Johnny Langan time to even attempt throws. The key plays to move the sticks against PSU will likely be slant and seam routes since the Nittany Lions will not want to get beat over the top. Forcing Rutgers to go the length of the field is a winning proposition for the home team. Hopefully Bo Melton and Isaiah Washington can live up to the praise I gave them. Matt Alaimo has also been underutlized as a pass catcher since McLane Carter went down, maybe he can preview a jump in 2020 on Saturday. Expect some trickery, gadget plays, and everything RU has in the playbook.

Chris Ash, Head Coach. Andy Buh, D.C. Greg Schiano, Head Coach

Penn State’s 2019 offense hasn’t been immune to struggles at times, but have roughly double the number of touchdowns that MSU had before last week. The Rutgers defense has dug in at times even in vain, for example two fourth down stands last week. The PSU running backs have tons of talent and are still feeling their way, so RU will have an opportunity to dig in as James Franklin and co. will want to give them as many carries as possible.

PSU quarterback Sean Clifford outperformed any reasonable expectations outside the state of Pennsylvania prior to the season. He is questionable for this contest after being knocked out of the Ohio State game last week. Backup Will Levis in his first legit action brought the Nittany Lions back a little bit against the Buckeyes. Expect him to get plenty of reps in this one for experience if nothing else. Top wideout KJ Hamler is a stud and RU has struggled to contain opponents’ featured receivers.

Special Teams

The Rutgers special teamers did a solid job against Michigan State. Had they not, the margin of victory would have been UGLY. All that said, these guys are playing for stats, postseason accolades, and to win their phase of the game. In his final game, I’m hoping Senior holder Cole Murphy gets to throw a pass even at the risk of expense of points toward Justin Davidovicz’s season total.

Mandatory Ranked Opponent Q: Is this game one QB injury away from RU having a chance?

Most likely, no. After what I saw from Levis last week against OSU, he won’t be intimidated in a home game against lowly Rutgers.

Final Thoughts

Penn State wants to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Rutgers wants to just have fun and not get blown out. Unfortunately, this game will probably not be close and we will end another season without a Big Ten win on the gridiron. The bigger question for RU is what happens with the coaching staff, transfer portal, and 2020 recruiting class salvage attempt.

For those who will never play a football game ever again, I’m sorry. I know they will miss it. Hopefully they can take something from their final season and game.

I don’t think Rutgers will win in any possible scenario, but perhaps I’m jaded.