Happy Valley has never been a place kind to Rutgers Football.
The Scarlet Knights came into the game without a touchdown on the road against Penn State since 1994. They also came in having scored just one touchdown since Oct. 21 against Indiana.
Both numbers remained in tact following another trip to State College due to common miscues.
Rutgers committed costly penalties and turned the ball over three times during its 27-6 loss to Penn State at Beaver Stadium. The offense finished with just 229 total yards in the contest.
Early on, what we already knew was reinforced — the defense is as good as advertised.
The Scarlet Knights forced a three-and-out on the first possession and allowed just one long drive leading to a touchdown in the first half. This was a 15-play, 75-yard drive that spanned eight minutes.
Rutgers put together a 14-play drive of its own on its first offensive possession. Gavin Wimsatt came out and hit two of his first three passes while using his legs effectively. Once the Scarlet Knights got near the goal line, a holding penalty backed them up and ended the chance of a touchdown.
After this possession, Kirk Ciarrocca fell in love with the ground game, and it was to a fault. Through the first 21 plays, Rutgers ran the ball 18 times. A Jai Patel field goal cut Penn State’s lead to 10-6 at halftime.
Rutgers trailed 13-6 when the Nittany Lions applied pressure and got to Wimsatt to force a fumble. This is the play that put the game out of reach and led to Penn State taking a 20-6 lead.
Wimsatt finished 10-for-16 for 130 and an interception. Kyle Monangai was held to just 39 yards on 16 carries. Rutgers gained 99 yards on the ground on 42 carries for an average of 2.4. The rushing attack that was so potent early on has come back down to Earth as the competition has taken a step forward.
This has been the case for the offense as a whole. Rutgers will return home to host Maryland in the final game of the regular season next Saturday looking to score its first touchdown in three weeks and just the second in over a month.
Greg Schiano and fans can be right at the same time. Yes, it is a successful season in terms of earning six wins, granted Wagner and Temple were on the schedule, but it is also fair to want to see component offensive play. This is not happening at the moment. The lack of improvements or adjustments made on that side of the ball remain alarming as Rutgers enters the final week of the season.