Penn State football tops Rutgers, gets 900th all-time win

penn state football

Penn State football picked up its second win in two weeks taking down Rutgers 23-7 to improve to 2-5 on the year. It was a dominant first half for the Nittany Lions but ultimately evened out in the latter part of the game to keep the score closer than it should’ve been. Here’s how the game went down.

1st Quarter

Penn State football received the opening kickoff and the offense went to work right away putting together a 17-play drive before turning it over on downs. KeAndre Lambert-Smith dropped a third down screen pass to set up a fourth down and 13 from the 31-yard line. Okay, kick the 48-yard field goal and take the points, right? Apparently that wouldn’t make sense to James Franklin. Instead, the offense stayed out there and threw a pass well short of the sticks. What a horrible decision and play call for the situation.

After the Nittany Lions stuffed Rutgers’ Johnny Langan on a fourth-and-one, the offense took over with good field position. After two runs from Keyvone Lee and two runs from Will Levis, Sean Clifford delivered a strike to Parker Washington for a 29-yard touchdown. After a Jake Pinegar PAT and a Rutgers punt, Penn State had the ball up 7-0 at the end of the quarter.

2nd Quarter

Following the punt, Penn State had an impressive 11-play drive going 74 yards all of which came on the ground. Devyn Ford and Levis each picked up 26 yards on three carries, and Clifford had 21 on two runs. The offense eventually stalled in the red zone and Pinegar connected from 30 yards to extend the lead to 10.

After another Rutgers turnover on downs, the running game continued to impress for the Nittany Lions this time finding the end zone. A 21-yard pick up from Lee and then a 13-yard Issac Lutz reception set up Ford’s third touchdown of the year.

Over its next three drives, Rutgers’ offense totaled negative five yards and three three-and-outs. Give credit to the defensive line for controlling the line of scrimmage and not allowing the running backs to have holes to run through and creating pressure on the quarterback often.

Penn State went into the locker room up 17-0 at half.

3rd Quarter

Penn State’s defense continued its dominance with Jesse Luketa recovering a fumble on the second play of the second half. The offense was able to move the ball 10 yards from there to set up a 47-yard Jordan Stout field goal to make it a 20-0 game early in the third quarter.

In the next offensive possession, Clifford threw a high pass that deflected off of Lutz’s hands and was picked off by Christian Izien to set up the Rutgers offense in Penn State territory. From there, Noah Vedral led the offense to a fourth-and-goal situation and made an incredible play to extend the play and find Bo Melton to get the Scarlet Knights on the board.

4th Quarter

There wasn’t much offense from either team in the final quarter, other than an 89-yard drive that ended in another Pinegar field goal to extend Penn State’s lead to 23-7. Lee carried the load going for 58 of his 95 total rushing yards on the drive.


It was good to see the defense play a full game versus a team who has been putting up points on their opponents. The unit only gave up one touchdown that was a prayer, and it came after an interception so Rutgers had good field position to start.

The offense scoring six points in the second half is concerning. It moved the ball pretty consistently throughout the early part of the game but just stopped executing late. A win is a win, but it still has some things to clean up.

This game marks Penn State’s 900th all-time win.

PSU Players of the Game

  • Jesse Luketa: 10 tackles (six solo), one fumble recovery.
  • Joey Porter Jr.: seven tackles (five solo), one TFL, Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
  • Keyvone Lee: 17 carries, 95 yards.