Rapid Reaction: Just like old times, Penn State routs Rutgers
Some things never change.
No matter how wacky the 2020 season has been for Penn State, it was still business as usual in Piscataway as the Nittany Lions dominated Rutgers 23-7 to pick up their second win in as many weeks.
The win marks Penn State’s 14th-straight victory over the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has failed to reach 10 points in the last 6 games against the Lions.
It was Penn State’s most complete performance of the season with the Lions owning the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Through one half, Penn State held Rutgers to just 0.9 yards a carry while Penn State averaged 4.4.
While Sean Clifford played efficient football, the Lions’ collection of running backs and Will Levis were the stars of the game. Penn State finished with 248 yards rushing, split fairly evenly among Devyn Ford, Keyvone Lee and Levis. Ford scored his 3rd touchdown of the season to put Penn State ahead 14-0 after missing last week’s game at Michigan, while Lee followed up the best game of his career with another effective day, leading the team in rushing again with 99 yards.
The game plan was pretty clear for Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense, as Clifford almost never looked down the field for big passing plays. His longest throw of the day was a 29-yard touchdown to freshman Parker Washington, who had a breakout game against Michigan.
Noah Vedral got the start at quarterback for Rutgers after missing last week with an injury. Although he was only sacked twice, he faced steady pressure all game and never had much time to find an open receiver. Bo Melton was the leading receiver for the Scarlet Knights, catching 7 passes for 38 yards, including a prayer of a touchdown in the 3rd quarter to finally put Rutgers on the board. The score ended a 26-quarter touchdown-less drought against Penn State.
Penn State forced 1 turnover, a fumble on Rutgers’ second play of the 2nd half, quickly snuffing the flame of any potential comeback. The Lions, meanwhile turned the ball over twice, including Clifford’s conference-worst 9th pick of the season.
Penn State now has the opportunity to finish out its regular season on a high not with a trip to East Lansing to take on a Michigan State team that was thumped by Ohio State this weekend. Rutgers is scheduled to play Maryland.