By Harry Allison

Here’s everything you need to know about Penn State’s Saturday night game at Rutgers, except, of course, why Rutgers is even in the Big 1o:

When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network

Publicly rooting for Ohio State to beat Michigan on Nov. 26 likely isn’t Penn State’s style, but the Nittany Lions know where they stand. Their win over the Buckeyes gives them the tiebreaker for the Big Ten West title, but their loss to the Wolverines hurts their chances. If Ohio State beats Michigan and Penn State wins out, it’ll be the Nittany Lions playing in the Big Ten title game – something that seemed far-fetched following a 2-2 start.

Penn State has to take care of its own business, though, with its final two games coming against the Big Ten’s worst teams. Following this contest with overmatched Rutgers, the Nittany Lions face Michigan State to close out the regular season. The Scarlet Knights were crushed by the Spartans, 49-0, last week.

It hasn’t all been roses for Penn State during its winning streak, though. It handled Purdue and Iowa easily, but it trailed Indiana in the fourth quarter last week. Saquon Barkley had a mediocre day with 58 yards on 31 carries, although he score two touchdowns, including the one that put the Nittany Lions ahead for good in the 45-31 win. The latter part of the schedule lined up in their favor, but they’re going to need to close better, especially on the road. The Hoosiers’ point total is the highest of any opponent during the winning streak.

What To Know About Rutgers

Chris Ash knew the task ahead of him when he accepted the Rutgers job in the offseason, but even he couldn’t know it would be this tough. The Scarlet Knights have dropped seven in a row and weren’t at all competitive last week against the Spartans, a team which also entered that matchup without a Big Ten victory. They’ve been shut out three times and scored seven points twice during the skid and regressed completely following two close games against Minnesota and Indiana.


Offense: Penn State – Look for Barkley to bounce back against a Rutgers defense that ranks 124th in the nation against the run.

Defense: Penn State – Garrett Sickles ranks in the top 10 in the conference in sacks and tackles for loss.

Special Teams: Penn State – Rutgers has allowed two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Coaching: Penn State – James Franklin has gotten himself off the hot seat.

Intangibles: Penn State – The Nittany Lions have won both matchups since Rutgers joined the Big Ten.

Matchup To Watch

Barkley vs. Rutgers’ run defense

Just take a look at Barkley’s stats from last year’s 28-3 win over Rutgers – 21 carries, 195 yards, two touchdowns. Barkley had a tough week against Indiana, but the Scarlet Knights won’t be able to stop him.

Betting Odds

Spread: Penn State -28
Over/Under: 57.5

Penn State vs. Rutgers Prediction

It’ll be Barkley’s show, as he rushes for 175 and three scores to help Penn State move closer to the Big Ten title game. Rutgers finishes with fewer than 200 yards and four turnovers.

Penn State vs. Rutgers final score prediction: Penn State 41, Rutgers 6

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