Penn State football vs. Rutgers Preview

penn state football

Penn State football will look to start a winning streak on Saturday as it hits the road to take on a 2-4 Rutgers team. After an 0-5 start to the season, the Nittany Lions were finally able to get in the win column last week and hope to carry that momentum into Week 7. Rutgers is also looking to build off of last week after a come-from-behind win at Purdue.

The all-time series between the two teams has been lopsided with Penn State holding a commanding 28-2 record against the Scarlet Knights, but this Rutgers team is better than it’s been in recent years. Here’s a look ahead of how Penn State matches up with Greg Schiano’s squad.


After Will Levis couldn’t get the job done at quarterback two weeks ago, Sean Clifford was given his starting job back and took advantage of it against Michigan. His stats don’t jump off the page, but he made big plays when he needed to the most and needs to continue extending drives with his arm and legs going forward.

Devyn Ford will be back in the running back rotation after missing last week’s game due to a death in his family, so it’ll be interesting to see how they distribute the carries after Keyvone Lee’s breakout game. That’ll play a big role as Rutgers’ defense is allowing an average of 170 rushing yards per game and has given up at least 100 yards and a touchdown in its last three games to the opposing running backs. Look for Penn State to try to control the run game early.

While the passing game hasn’t been a strong suit, the Rutgers defense has struggled to defend the pass, so something’s gotta give. It has given up 260 yards through the air per game and only has three interceptions on the year. If Clifford can continue his connection with Parker Washington and Jahan Dotson, Penn State might put up its biggest number on the scoreboard this year.


The defense played its best game all year last week and will need to show up again against a Rutgers offense that is more than capable of scoring points. While Penn State’s defense is now allowing just under 33 points per game, the Scarlet Knight offense is putting up over 35 on its opponents with three games of 37 points scored or more.

Rutgers has some quarterback controversy at the moment with three guys that could all play. Noah Vedral was the starter for the first five games but did not play last week against Purdue due to injury. Artur Sitkowski replaced him and played well but was taken out in the second half for Johnny Langan, who showed his versatility after going down 23-13.

Sitkowski finished the game completing 68% of his passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns while Langan went three for three through the air for 84 yards and a score, and also added 95 yards on the ground on 21 carries. Langan led the comeback but wasn’t put in to throw much at all. It’ll be interesting to see how they deal with the quarterback situation depending on Vedral’s availability on Saturday.

If the Nittany Lion defense can stop the run game and get pressure on the passer, it should be able to create turnovers and get the ball back to the offense. After a quiet game last week (other than jumping offsides twice), I expect Jayson Oweh to step up in a big way for Penn State football.

Game info

Date: Dec. 5
Time: Noon ET
Spread: Penn State -11
Over/Under: 54

Prediction: Penn State 37, Rutgers 27