Penn State Vs. Rutgers: Report Card

November 21, 2016 GMT

PLAYER OF THE GAME LB Brandon Bell, Penn State This honor could have gone to a slew of players on the Penn State defense, but the New Jersey native gets it for coming home in style. He finished with five tackles and a sack, and he forced a fumble. GAME BALLS PK Tyler Davis, Penn State: Drilled a career-high four field goals, including a season-long 41-yarder. Hit two field goals into the wind in the first half to help the Nittany Lions build a 9-0 edge. RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State: Left the game after taking a blow to the head in the third quarter, but rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries before leaving. WR Juwan Johnson, Penn State: The redshirt freshman’s blocked punt in the third quarter helped the Lions break open a close game and key a 30-point second half. BY THE NUMBERS 0Points scored this season by Rutgers against Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State. 5 Catches for tight end Mike Gesicki, who passed Andrew Quarless’ 41 receptions in 2009 for the single-season receptions record for a tight end at Penn State. 25 First downs gained by Penn State. It allowed Rutgers to pick up just five on defense. 48 Passing yards for Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, marking the second consecutive game in which he threw for less than 50. 549 Total yards accrued by Penn State. REPORT CARD Quarterbacks: Penn State’s Trace McSorley didn’t have his typical big night, but he did throw a touchdown pass to Mark Allen late in the game, and he threw for 210 yards and rushed for 55 more. Should have been intercepted twice, though, in a stiff wind. GRADE: C+ Running backs: Saquon Barkley left the game after taking a shot to the head, but he had some big carries. Andre Robinson and Mark Allen scored after he left, and Miles Sanders gained 85 yards on five carries. There’s plenty of talent beyond Barkley. GRADE: A Receivers: It was going to be a difficult day to make big plays in the passing game, but Penn State did OK. DaeSean Hamilton went 28 yards on a bubble screen, and DeAndre Thompkins made a big catch. GRADE: B Offensive line: There was plenty of room to run, and McSorley was sacked just once. All in all, that’s not a bad effort for a group that was pieced together and playing without Brendan Mahon and Connor McGovern. GRADE: A- Defensive line: There was constant pressure on Rutgers quarterbacks Giovanni Rescigno and Tylin Oden, mostly from Evan Schwan and Shareef Miller, who blew up plenty of plays. Nowhere for Rutgers’ decent backs to run, either. They gained just 39 yards on the ground. GRADE: A Linebackers: Brandon Bell made a big impact early that set the tone, and Jason Cabinda was solid throughout the game, especially in pass coverage. GRADE: A Secondary: Rutgers had just 48 passing yards. There were no chances given to them by the Penn State defensive backs, and CB Grant Haley was especially good. GRADE: A Special teams: This really was the difference in the game. Tyler Davis connected on four field goals, and the blocked punt by Juwan Johnson really swung every bit of momentum Penn State’s way. GRADE: A Coaching: Penn State was the far more intense team in this game, and that’s a credit to a coaching staff that had this team focused in a situation where it likely was hard to be. GRADE: A-