The regular-season home finale is on the horizon for Penn State.
The 6-4 Nittany Lions play host to 5-5 Rutgers Saturday for Senior Day at noon.
Here’s how our staff sees this one playing out.
Alexis Yoder: Penn State 24, Rutgers 10
After falling to Michigan at home for its fourth loss of 2021, Penn State is in search of a momentum-swinging win before it finishes the regular season at Michigan State.
Rutgers hasn’t established a consistent defensive effort thus far, so the Nittany Lions must establish their playmakers on the offensive side of the ball in Sean Clifford and Jahan Dotson early.
Clifford established himself as a run threat once again against the Wolverines, so it’s safe to assume the redshirt-senior gunslinger is fully healthy.
One play changed the narrative of what was an exceptional defensive performance against arguably the best run offense in the Big Ten.
Should defensive coordinator Brent Pry’s group find its groove against the Scarlet Knights, Penn State will pick up its seventh win of the season.
Justin Morganstein: Penn State 27, Rutgers 17
For the sake of James Franklin and the entirety of the Penn State football program, a win is much needed on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions have lost four of their last five games but take on a Rutgers team that is looking to clinch a bowl berth for the first time since 2014.
Penn State is going to have to lean on what it knows will work, and that appears to be Dotson.
In a game like this, as long as the Nittany Lion offense gets the ball in the hands of its playmakers, they should be able to handle a Rutgers team that has looked shaken defensively at times.
With a healthy Clifford and the defense playing as well as it has, James Franklin’s team should be in line to pick up its seventh win.
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Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers hasn’t enjoyed a single lick of success, with the…
Max Ralph: Penn State 27, Rutgers 13
With another close-but-not-quite-there effort against Michigan, Penn State proved it’s better than its 6-4 record. On the contrary, Rutgers’ 5-5 is probably pretty representative.
The Scarlet Knights can run the ball and will stay committed to it behind Isaih Pacheco, but the Nittany Lions have continued to stifle each of their opponents on the ground outside of Illinois.
Rutgers’ defense hasn’t been as consistent as its offense, even giving up 52 points to a much maligned Wisconsin offense that Penn State held to 10 points. Clifford and company should be able to get rolling through the air, and the run game may be able to continue to take some solid steps forward.
Expect Dotson and running back Keyvone Lee to be involved heavily, as Penn State will try to prove it can sustain drives and control the tempo of a game.
James Franklin will send his seniors off on a high note on Senior Day with a solid win against Rutgers.
Seth Engle: Penn State 27, Rutgers 0
While the score prediction may surprise some people, it’s important to remember that Penn State is actually pretty dominant against opponents it’s favored against with the exception of Illinois.
It’s been an ugly past five games for the Nittany Lions, who went 5-0 to start the season and 1-4 since. But on senior day this Saturday, expect the blue and white to show up with a vengeance.
Saturday could very well end up being Sean Clifford’s last home game as a Nittany Lion, and what better team to unleash his pent-up emotions against than Rutgers, a team that hasn’t beaten him through his entire career.
On top of Clifford’s individual success against the Scarlet Knights, Penn State itself hasn’t lost a game to the program since 1988.
Look for Jahan Dotson to have a career game against Rutgers on his senior day en route to a score similar to that of Penn State’s Week 5 shutout against Indiana.
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