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Rutgers falls to Penn State while amassing more total yards

 – Photo by Kelly Carmack

Going into its game on Saturday in University Park, Pennsylvania, the Rutgers football team sought to end the season with a competitive game against Penn State, one of the nation's historic college football powerhouses.

The Scarlet Knights (2-10, 0-9) did just that and then some. Despite some positive on the offensive side of the ball, the No. 12 Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2) came away with a 27-6 victory. But, Rutgers would win out in several key matchups throughout the entire 60 minutes.

For the first time this season against a Big Ten opponent, the Knights captured more total yards. They compiled 383 yards compared to Penn State's 333 throughout the whole game.

Rutgers got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a 29-yard field goal from junior kicker Justin Davidovicz, who drilled a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter. Those would be his only field goals of the game, as he would miss a 35-yard attempt with 2 seconds left in the first half.

Journey Brown scored all three of the Lions' touchdowns, which were all on the ground. It was the first game of the season where Brown, a 5-foot-11-inch junior, totaled more than one score. He had 103 of Penn State's 252 rushing yards of the day.

The Lions quarterback Will Levis was held in check by the Knights' defensive unit the entire game. While he found Jahan Dotson for a 44-yard score, he threw only 81 yards on a 8-of-14 day. Levis was also sacked four times the entire game. 

Junior linebacker Tyshon Fogg and senior defensive back Damon Hayes paired up for a sack on Penn State's first offensive possession of the game. Junior linebacker Rashawn Battle also picked up a sack, his third of the season. 

A major factor of Rutgers' ability to gain more yards was redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Langan's poise in the pocket. Langan, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week back on Oct. 28 following a career-high 192 yards in the air against Liberty, threw for 164 yards in his first trip to University Park.

True freshman wide receiver Isaiah Washington caught four passes for 63 yards as the Knights' leading wideout. On some plays, Langan overthrew the true freshman. This also was the case for junior wide receiver Mohamed Jabbie, who came up with one reception. It would have been more if Langan had connected with the redshirt junior.

Junior wide receiver Bo Melton became the first Rutgers receiver since alumnus Janarion Grant in 2015 to haul in one catch in all 12 games. Melton finished the season with his first two career touchdowns while totaling 427 receiving yards as the team's leading wideout.

While he has not seen the field since the Knights lost to Michigan at the end of September, junior running back Raheem Blackshear was the team's second receiver with the most yards, hauling in 29 receptions for 310 yards. Last week, Blackshear formally put his name in the transfer portal alongside sophomore quarterback Artur Sitkowski and 10 other student-athletes.

Langan showed off his mobile legs in run-pass-option (RPO) plays against a Lions defense that has allowed less than 90 yards in the previous 11 games. He compiled 58 yards on the ground, a kudos to his offensive line, who opened holes for Langan. 

Sophomore running back Isaih Pacheco also displayed his power and confidence when navigating Penn State's defensive line. Pacheco ran for 102 yards on 18 attempts, a stat line that featured zero yards lost for the sophomore.

The sophomore finishes his second season as the team's rushing leader, amassing 729 total yards and making seven successful trips to the end zone. Langan followed with 391 total yards and three scores.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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