Penn State 55, Rutgers 10
After a disgustingly slow start for the Penn State offense, the defense and special teams sparkled, and the offense eventually chimed in with points of their own, as the Nittany Lions pummeled the Scarlet Knights 55-10 on Saturday. Penn State, ranked #11 going into this game, improved to 9-2 (6-2 in the Big Ten), while any post-season hopes for Rutgers were dashed, as their record worsened to 4-7 (1-7 B10).
Offense Gets the Message
Two defensive touchdowns by Kobe King and Ji’Ayir Brown and one 100-yard runback by Nick Singleton on special teams lit up the scoreboard with enough points to have won the game twice over. The offense got the message, adding 34 points of their own for good measure.
The much-maligned offensive line alternatively looked good and bad. When they got their assignments right, they were good, enabling Kaytron Allen’s excellent day of 11 carries for 117 yards. Nick Singleton added nine carries for sixty-two yards, in addition to his 100-yard kick return. However, the O-Line allowed two sacks, five TFLs and three hurries.
In all, Penn State rolled up 436 yards and 21 first downs. They did this without top pass receiver Parker Washington, who did not make the trip and whose absence remains a mystery. After the game, head coach James Franklin stated that he would provide information about Washington on Tuesday. This, by the way, was Franklin’s 100th coaching victory.
Manny Diaz’s aggressive defense, minus star cornerback Joey Porter, Jr., held the Scarlet Knights to 167 total yards, only 32 of which were on the ground, and nine first downs. They forced three turnovers.
Punting was an issue that will need to be cleaned up. Third-down performance was also less than stellar, at 25%. In close games with stiff opposition, these areas will be significant. The possession and field position “battles” must be won if the war is to be won.
Putting this game in perspective, Rutgers has lost to everyone they played in the Big Ten except Indiana. Nevertheless, except for the lethargic start, this Turkey feels that the Nittany Lions have shown some steady improvement all around, with more improvement needed in the areas I touched on in the previous paragraph.
Around the FBS
The big stories were elsewhere, and once again, the Top Ten will be shaken up. You might wake up to find Penn State on that lofty tier because of some vacuum-creating losses and shitty performances. Both #2 Ohio State and #3 Michigan struggled with inferior opponents (namely Maryland and Illinois). #4 TCU barely survived a scare from unranked Baylor, while #5 Tennessee had the snot kicked out of their Rocky Top asses by unranked South Carolina. #12 Oregon edged #10 Utah, soooooo….
I would expect Tennessee and Utah to drop out of the top ten (even thought they beat Alabama), which will suck Penn State and Oregon up into that stratum.
So, with one game left, against Moo U., and a Top Ten ranking hopefully upheld by winning that game, the Sanguinarians might be getting their wishes for a New Year’s Day game. Moo U is not to be overlooked, even if they did get their asses handed to them in overtime by the lowly Hoosiers this week.
As you might have gleaned, today is the day on which this Turkey celebrates successful completion of his seventy-sixth trip around the sun. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, a perilous time for turkeys, who knows how long this journey will continue. Once a year I am reminded that I could not have gotten this far without the support of family, friends, teachers, and readers of my drivel here. I am grateful to all for my continued presence on the planet.
It’s nice to be remembered, too. I got three cards this year. Nobody buys cards anymore. On the other hand, I got a plethora of wishes on Facebook, which is how things are done these days.
I’ll be back for one more pre-game preview during the week. For those of you who will be too busy with holiday preparations to read it, I wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving right here and now!