STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 20: Jaquan Brisker #1 and Arnold Ebiketie #17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions force Noah Vedral #0 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to fumble the ball during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-6) hope to gift their fans a big victory in addition to a major “thank you” for its support on Senior Day on Saturday when they square off with Big Ten rival, number 11 Penn State (8-2) at 3:30 p.m.  from SHI Stadium.

For many on the Scarlet Knights this is their last shot at playing in front of the home crowd in their college careers. This year’s roster has 24 seniors, many of whom will graduate either next month or next spring.

As a team, this is Rutgers last stand it front of its fans to keep its fleeting bowl hopes alive. At 4-6, one more loss would all but eliminate the Scarlet Knights from bowl consideration. Last year, of course, the Scarlet Knights were 5-7 and were still invited at the 11th hour to the Outback Bowl after Texas A&M backed out due to COVID.

Looking at Penn State:

This is a tough match-up for Rutgers. Penn State has been one of college football’s most talented and aggressive teams all season long. For a team that lost a lot of great talent on its roster after last season, this year’s Penn State team is even better, and they have an outside shot at the Rose Bowl or even higher if they win out and get help.

How good are the Nittnay Lions? Well, they have scored 30 or more points in all but two games (a 17-7 win at Northwestern on October 1, and a 45-17 loss to Michigan on October 15). Other than that they have dominated.

Sixth year quarterback Sean Clifford is enjoying one of his best seasons tossing for 2,184 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Meanwhile the running tandem of Nicholas Singleton (801 yards, 10 Touchdowns) and Kaytron Allen (631 yards rushing, 8 TD’s) is one of the most lethal running back tandems in the Big Ten.

Receiver Patrick Washington (611 yards receiving) averages 13.3 yards per catch, and will be a player Rutgers has to keep an eye on all day.

Defensively, Penn State loves to go after the football. They have forced 21 turnovers this year, and have sacked opposing quarterbacks a total of 30 times. Safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who leads the team with 55 tackles and 3 sacks is definitely a player to watch for.

Keys for Rutgers:

Rutgers has to slow the game down. That means feeding the football to running back Kyle Monangi and asking him to chew up tough yards and clock. Monangi enjoyed a career day last week vs. Michigan State posting 162 yards on the ground. Gavin Wismatt, who has played better of late, needs to protect the football and take chances when given the opportunity, and Rutgers’ offensive line must maintain its discipline against Penn State’s pass rush.

Again, Penn State likes to play fast and turn games into track meets. Rutgers must avoid that at every cost.

Series at a glance:

Penn State leads the all time series 30-2, and have won 15 straight against Rutgers. In fact, of all the teams Rutgers has played in the Big Ten, they have seen Penn State by far the most. In fact since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers has played only one close game with Penn State, back in 2014 — a game the Nittnay Lions won 13-10.

Listen to the game Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. with the Tailgate Show on Fox Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM, 1450 AM. Kickoff is at 3:30. Rutgers play-by-play will be on Fox Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM 1450 AM. Penn State’s play-by-play will be on our sister station 1250 WMTR Classic Oldies at 3:30 p.m.


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