Rutgers vs. No. 14 Penn State: Stock Up, Stock Down
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- What was a promising start for the Rutgers football team turned into a disappointing finish, as the Scarlet Knights (4-6, 3-4) squandered an upset opportunity against No. 14 Penn State (8-2, 5-2), falling by a score of 35-6.
Here is who performed well and who did not.
The d-line had its best game of the season, as it performed very well against the run and was productive in passing situations. Sophomore defensive tackle Jon Bateky had an early sack on Trace McSorely but most importantly, the Knights were able to contain Penn State star running back Saquan Barkley. He finished with 35 yards on 12 carries -- just 2.5 yards per carry -- and had a number of plays go for negative yardage.
A big reason why Rutgers was able to stay competitive early was the play of the offensive line. It was able to pave the way for a strong running game early on and did not surrender a sack until the last drive of the game in garbage time. The unit ranks tops in the Big Ten in sacks allowed and Saturday's performance should keep it there another week. While the running game faded late in the game, it was still a very strong performance for AJ Blazek's group, who have been among the most consistent units on the team this year.
Saturday marked yet another game where the Scarlet Knight wide receivers could not get open. While quarterback Giovanni Rescigno did not have a great game throwing the ball, it is very hard for him to be productive when there are no receivers to throw to. The receivers registered just 3 catches on the day, for a total of 20 yards, resulting in another disappointing performance from a group that has struggled all season.
Both the cornerbacks and safeties were picked on all afternoon and made things easy for McSorley, who was incredibly efficient, going 16-21 for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. He did not need to make too many difficult throws on the day, as he seemingly always had a man open and hit them with ease. While the secondary has been one of the better position groups this season for Rutgers, it failed to put forth a strong performance against Penn State.