No. 16 Penn State looks to snap skid versus Rutgers
Rutgers (4-5, 3-3 Big Ten) at No. 16 Penn State (7-2, 4-2, CFP No. 14), Saturday, noon ET (BTN)
Line: Penn State by 31.
Series record: Penn State leads 25-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Nittany Lions can snap a two-game skid and stay in the hunt for a New Year’s Six spot with a win. They’ll need chaos elsewhere to keep any playoff hope alive. The Scarlet Knights have won three of four, but still have not been competitive against the top teams in the Big Ten East — like Penn State.
Penn State’s offensive line versus Rutgers’ defense. The Scarlet Knights will likely load up to stop RB Saquon Barkley as other teams have done. The Heisman Trophy contender has rushed for just 69 yards per game over the last five as blocking hasn’t been consistent. After being called out by their coach this week, Penn State’s front five will look to outmuscle a Rutgers defense that’s allowed 780 rushing yards in its last three.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Rutgers: RB Gus Edwards. The Miami transfer ran for 109 yards on 21 carries against Maryland and also caught a go-ahead, 23-yard touchdown pass. With WR Janarion Grant banged up, Edwards is the team’s biggest weapon.
Penn State: WR DeAndre Thompkins. Rutgers punter Ryan Anderson has put a lot of air under his punts and is flipping field position for his team with a 43.9 average. Thompkins is sixth among FBS players with 16.19 yards per punt return and depends on booming punts to create space.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State has won 12 straight in Beaver Stadium. . Barkley needs 136 rushing yards for his third 1,000-yard rushing season. . Penn State QB Trace McSorley has thrown a touchdown pass in 24 straight games. . Rutgers has 27 touchdowns in nine games this season compared to 23 all of last year. . Rutgers TE Jerome Washington’s 24 catches for 253 yards are team bests. . WR DaeSean Hamilton leads Penn State with 36 catches for 606 yards and six touchdowns. . Penn State won 39-0 in New Jersey last season. . Rutgers last won in Happy Valley in 1988.
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