Snyder, Alexander share tales of ties to Pennsylvania, express motivation for first-ever Big Ten contest
Pennsylvania and New Jersey compete over a lot of things.
Who has the better cheesesteaks is a popular topic of debate. Sheetz versus Wawa is another.
Another topic is which public school system is better — New Jersey and Pennsylvania both rank towards the top, with New Jersey earning the top spot most recently.
Pennsylvania, though, boasts being the second state to join the union, followed by New Jersey at third.
Sports is a topic not free from debate between the two states, especially when it comes to college football.
Penn State head coach James Franklin made headlines back in May when he said the Rutgers football team didn’t have a chance when it came to recruiting in the New Jersey area.
While that surely fired up fans of both the Nittany Lions and the Scarlet Knights, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood said it doesn’t motivate him any further.
“I don’t need any more motivation for this game than the opportunity to be 1-0 in the Big Ten conference and an opportunity to be the Big Ten Eastern Division champion,” Flood said when asked about Franklin’s comment. “Anything above and beyond that is not necessary for me.”
Some Knights have taken to drawing motivation from the game this Saturday.
Growing up an hour and a half from the University Park campus, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania native Kevin Snyder said this game has a different meaning to it.
It also serves as motivation for Snyder because Penn State didn’t heavily recruit him out of high school.
“I think it means a lot [for a Pennsylvania kid]. They didn’t really recruit me very much, and that’s all right and fine with me,” Snyder said. “You try to show them, ‘Why didn’t you recruit me?’ Honestly, though, for me, there’s not much more than it being just another game. Obviously my family is excited about it, and people from home are excited about it, but for me, it really is just another game and one that we have to be prepared for.”
But each Knight has his own different motivation going into each game.
Senior right tackle Taj Alexander is from Pennsylvania but said going up against Penn State does not affect his mindset from what happened in high school.
Alexander actually received his second offer from Penn State but was firm in his commitment to Rutgers.
“I got a look from Penn State after I got my first offer, which was Rutgers. Penn State was kind of a team I was waiting on, though. Just growing up, they were always on my mind,” Alexander said. “I was gonna take a visit, but I already committed here. Rutgers wanted me, and that’s how I knew it was the place for me.”
Alexander isn’t caught up in trying to prove anything to Penn State. He only wants to show that Rutgers belongs in the Big Ten.
“Nah, I’m over that now,” Alexander joked about wanting to prove something to teams that recruited him late. “I want to win, not to prove myself to Penn State. I want to prove to the Big Ten and the rest of the country that we are here, and we are going to compete. I’m more focused on proving we are a good team.”