Penn State vs. Rutgers Prediction Roundtable

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Penn State is coming off a much-needed win last week over the Buffalo Bulls. While the win was predicted by many, the Vegas line was much higher than the 13-point margin of victory. Still, a win is a win, and the Nittany Lions were able to get some much-needed work in certain areas. This week, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights come into town for a primetime Big Ten clash.

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The Nittany Lions are once again favored. Rutgers comes into the game dealing with some difficult circumstances, with not only its best wide receiver, but also its head coach suspended for the contest.

On paper, this game looks like a fairly easy victory for the Nittany Lions, however, James Franklin and his team know all to well that anything can happen.

Read on to see how the staff thinks this conference game will turn out.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. 

Rutgers enters this game facing some difficulties, which scares me a bit, as the Scarlet Knights could be extra motivated. However, I liked some things I saw from the Nittany Lions last week and think that things will improve even more this week.

After being sacked 10 times against Temple, Christian Hackenberg wasn’t sacked at all against Buffalo. Sure, that was a bad defense, but it was still great to see the quarterback stay upright for most of the game. With two weeks under their belts, I fully expect the offense begin clicking this week. Running back Saquon Barkley provided a spark last week and will look to do the same this year.

On defense, Carl Nassib has been an absolute beast. I look for he and the rest of his teammates on Penn State’s front seven to take over the game adjacent Rutgers. Sacks and tackles-for-loss will be the order on Saturday night. Without the services of wide receiver Leonte Carroo, Rutgers will have trouble moving the ball on the tough Nittany Lion defense.

As for a score prediction, I think this will be the week everything clicks. I’m not even expecting a slow start in this one. In front of a fired up stripe-out crowd under the bright lights at Beaver Stadium, Penn State will win 31-10.

Staff Writer Nick Lemon

Penn State opens up the Big Ten season against an embattled Rutgers squad in what will be a hyped and striped capacity crowd at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions are poised to capture their second win of the season under the lights in the first “Stripe Out” in Penn State Football history. Rutgers will be without head coach Kyle Flood and a multitude of suspended players that  may very well end up wearing stripes instead of playing in the Stripe Out, including (ex)-star WR Leonte Caroo.

I predict that Franklin calls Saquon Barkley’s number early and often against Rutgers and his speed once again sparks the running game. With Barkley’s burst commanding respect in the backfield, Hackenberg finds his rhythm and is able to take advantage of the talented wide receivers who finally create separation against Rutgers liberal secondary.

The return of Brandon Bell and Grant Haley only strengthen an already solid defense and the secondary makes their presence felt with a few turnovers.
Penn State is still a work in progress although the young and talented players are steadily earning their stripes and starting to provide the team with the play-makers it needs to be successful. The Nittany Lions put together their best all-around effort of the season and are victorious under the lights in the first “Stripe Out” in Penn State Football history.
Penn State wins 24-17.

Staff Writer Shane Lunnen

The offense hasn’t put together a good performance in the first two games and will look to improve this week against Rutgers.  I’m not entirely convinced they can until they prove it on the field.  One would think with a weaker Rutgers secondary that Christian Hackenberg could have a big night.  But I thought he should have big games against Temple and Buffalo and we all know how both of those turned out.  I’m hoping Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley are the workhorses this week.

I’m not concerned with Penn State on defense, as they should have another good game.  The biggest concern for Penn State should be stopping the Scarlet Knights on special teams.  Janarion Grant returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns last week against Washington State.  In what looks to be a low scoring game, a return touchdown could be critical for momentum.   Don’t count out Penn State’s own return game though with Koa Farmer, Nick Scott and DeAndre Thompkins all capable of going the distance.

The X-factor for Rutgers is how they will respond without head coach Kyle Flood on the sidelines.  They could play with a giant chip on their shoulders and give Penn State a really tough game or they could come in emotionally drained and the Nittany Lions take full advantage.

Penn State wins another low scoring affair with a late Joey Julius field goal, 16-13.