The Penn State Nittany Lions’ football team (2-1) appeared to take a couple of steps forward on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium, dominating Rutgers (1-2) in a 28-3 win. It was Penn State’s 9th consecutive victory in the series, improving to 24-2 all-time.
The Scarlet Knights had no answer all night for Penn State’s two-headed rushing attack, as freshman Saquon Barkley scored 2 TD’s and tallied 195 yards on 21 attempts. Junior Akeel Lynch also added 120 yards on ten carries, including a big 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that made the score 21-0.
The scoreless first quarter featured the only real moments when this game was in doubt, and a moderate rain that fell during the rest of the game seemed only to benefit the Nittany Lions. Penn State outgained Rutgers 469 to 277 and won the turnover battle 3-1, thanks in part to two interceptions thrown by Rutgers’ QB Chris Laviano.
Although the Lions’ offensive line was mostly dominant for the second straight game, giving up zero sacks for the second straight week after allowing 10 vs. Temple in week one, the play of QB Christian Hackeneberg remains an issue for Penn State.
The rainy weather surely played a factor, but Hackenberg finished only 10-19 with 141 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT against a suspect Rutgers secondary. Hackenberg completely missed several easy throws in a display that Lions fans have surely become used to after the past couple of seasons.
Hackenberg needs to improve in order for Penn State to contend in the B1G this year, but overall, there was more good than bad for the team on Saturday. The defense looked great, and the squad will have three consecutive winnable home games to hopefully fine-tune some issues before heading to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes in October.
The Lions will look for their third straight win as they face the San Diego State Aztecs (1-2) in Beaver Stadium next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.