What Rutgers football needs to do to beat Penn State

rutgers football

This weekend, Rutgers football will finally be entering a game with some momentum.

The Scarlet Knights will face Penn State in what is an important game for both teams. The once-great Penn State has gotten off to a tough start this season, coming into the game with a 1-5 record. Rutgers has not had the most spectacular season either, but has significantly improved, becoming a Rutgers team that is different from any one Penn State has yet to see.

This should turn out to be a good game that realistically could be anyone’s. Both teams are coming off of wins from last weekend. Rutgers beat Purdue in a back and forth game featuring some scrappy play. Penn State snagged its first win of the season over Michigan, giving it a new momentum. The Nittany Lions are going to be hungry for this win, so Rutgers will need to step up and bring its best game. Let’s look at what might happen.

Penn State seems to have improved its offense

Penn State’s offensive line looked much better in its game against Michigan. The team has been outscored this season 197-150, and it’s clear that the offense was weak. However, against Michigan, Penn State scored in every quarter, and this consistency led to the Nittany Lions’ win. Rutgers should look out for PSU quarterback Sean Clifford, who last weekend passed for 163 yard and scored one of the three rushing touchdowns. Rutgers will likely have to defend a throwing offense, as Penn State has only rushed for 950 yards this season. In fact, Clifford leads his team in rushing yards, so he may be the biggest force to stop.

We may see more of quarterback Johnny Langan

Last week, Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral saw no playing time, as he was recovering from an injury. Instead, we saw a combination of Johnny Langan and Artur Sitkowski, who both brought a different kind of play. Sitkowski uses his strong arm to play a long game, and Langan doesn’t even play like a quarterback. Langan drives the ball well, and created an exciting energy against Purdue last week. It’s likely that we’ll see more of him, probably in combination with a returning Vedral. If Langan can bring the same energy, Penn State will be on its toes and give up momentum. Scrappy play has been a good move for Rutgers this season, and Langan has shown a new component to it.


We might actually see the weather being a big external factor in this game. It’s supposed to storm, and this could affect game play on either or both sides. This will likely make it a low scoring game. Also, look out for Rutgers football debuting a new all black uniform to counter Penn State’s pristine all white look. This should be a fun game, and one in which Rutgers can secure a win. Actually, Rutgers really needs to secure this win, and continue to prove its worth to the Big Ten. I predict Rutgers will beat Penn State 17-13.

Photo by The Daily Targum