Penn State Beats Rutgers in Final Road Game
PISCATAWAY, NJ --The Penn State Nittany Lions (8-3, 5-3 B1G) played their final road game in
Northern New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, as they took on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-10, 0-8 B1G) at HighPoint.com Stadium. The Nittany Lions got off to a slow start, but straightened things up in the second quarter to do away with the Scarlet Knights and win 20-7. Both teams struggled to gain a firm advantage in the first seven minutes, as the two teams were forced to punt on the first five drives of the game. Freshman kicker Jake Pinegar was able to earn the games first points with a field goal to put Penn State up 3-0.
“The drive-start battle, we won. The turnover battle, we won. The penalty battle, we won.
And the explosive play battle, we won,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said.
“That to me is the overall story of the game.”
Penn State’s first touchdown drive was jump started by an interception from junior safety Garrett
Taylor to take over deep in Rutgers territory. The drive was capped off by senior quarterback
Trace McSorley’s 100th career passing touchdown, finding freshman tight end Pat Freiermuth
for a 6-yard touchdown.
Penn State got the ball back with under two minutes to go in the first half and a chance to score
again at the end of the half. McSorley connected with freshman wide receiver Jahan Dotson for
a 35-yard gain to set up a 19-yard field goal for Pinegar to make it 13-0 in favor of the visitors.
Rutgers got the ball to start the second half, and showed some offensive progress for a team
that hasn’t scored a touchdown against Penn State since 2015. The Scarlet Knights had a first-and-10 from inside the Nittany Lion 5-yard line, but the Nittany Lions made the stand with help from a failed trick play that senior quarterback Giovanni Rescigno couldn’t haul in for the
“Our defense was playing really good the last couple of weeks." Franklin said. "I thought we played
The game slowed down after this drive, as McSorley threw a deep ball to freshman wide
receiver Justin Shorter that was deflected and intercepted by senior safety Isaiah Wharton.
Rutgers couldn’t do anything with that interception, however, as they fumbled on its next
The third quarter ended with the same score as the end of the second quarter, a 13-0 Nittany
The first drive of the fourth quarter for Penn State took McSorley’s offense into the red zone,
and he connected with Freiermuth for the second time from 18 yards to extend the lead. A
Pinegar extra point gave Penn State a 20-0 lead with just over 13 minutes to go in the game.
Rutgers took the ensuing drive 75 yards to the house to put up the Scarlet Knights first
touchdown against the Nittany Lions since 2014. Sophomore running back Raheem Blackshear
scored from 2 yards out to cut down the Penn State lead to 20-7.
“When we saw those guys on the tape, we had a lot of respect for those guys, how hard
they played,” Franklin said. “We did not think this was going to be an easy game.”
Two consecutive punts gave Penn State the ball back with under seven minutes to go and a
chance to seal a win in Piscataway with a successful drive.
Rutgers’ offense stalled out late and allowed Penn State to keep the ball on the ground in an
effort to milk out the clock. McSorley picked up a key first down from seven yards out with his
feet, and the Scarlet Knights had no way to stop the clock.
In an effort to close out the game, junior running back Miles Sanders fumbled deep into Rutgers
territory, but even then it was too little too late for the Scarlet Knights as they turned the ball
over on downs. Penn State took two kneels and was able to escape Piscataway with an ugly
“I thought [in] the running game, we did some good things,” Franklin said. “I think we are
still a little off in the passing game, we have to get that cleaned up.”
Penn State wraps up their regular season with senior day next week as they take on Maryland
at Beaver Stadium. Rutgers travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State in its season
finale, as the Scarlet Knights were unable to qualify for a bowl game.
Joe Skinner is a sophomore broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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