The Rutgers football team lost 28-0 to Penn State on Saturday afternoon. The loss leaves the Scarlet Knights (5-6, 2-6) with one more game left in the regular season and one more opportunity to clinch a trip to their first bowl game since 2014.
Both offenses got off to slow starts on Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-4) would get the first score of the game with fewer than 6 minutes to go in the first half, but not before 12 total punts were forced by both defenses. Penn State went into halftime with a 7-0 lead.
While the Nittany Lions eventually found success moving the ball in the second half, the Rutgers offense continued to struggle. For the game, the Knights would only reach the opponent's side of the field once on a drive which ended in a turnover-on-downs late in the third quarter.
Penn State would go on to score touchdowns on three straight drives in the second half, expanding its halftime lead over Rutgers to 28 points with approximately 5 minutes remaining. The Nittany Lions ended the day with 407 total yards of offense compared to 160 yards for the Knights.
“That was a tough one. We did some things well but just not well enough to win,” said head coach Greg Schiano after the game. “(Penn State’s) a good football team. That defense is top 10 for a reason. So we got to regroup, and we will. We'll get a bus ride home to think about it.”
Senior quarterback Noah Vedral finished his day with 12 completions for 91 yards. It was a tough day for Rutgers on the ground, as none of the seven Knights who rushed the ball reached more than 20 yards. Of the seven, junior quarterback Johnny Langan was the leader with 18 yards on five carries.
Saturday was the first time that Rutgers has been shut out this season. The previous low in points this year was against Wisconsin, where the program only scored 3 points.
“We have to first look at coaching, right? We have to look at ourselves, and then look at personnel,” Schiano said. “It’s easy to look at personnel. That’s what commentators do. We’re not commentators — we’re coaches, so we got to look in the mirror first.”
Senior wide receiver Bo Melton was the team’s leading receiver with three catches for 47 yards. With that stat-line, Melton moved into sixth place in program history in total catches and into 10th all-time in receiving yards, passing current wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood.
Senior linebackers Drew Singleton and Tyshon Fogg led a defense that held Penn State off the scoreboard for nearly the entire first half. When it was all said and done, Singleton and Fogg led the Knights with 12 tackles apiece. The duo also combined for 2.5 tackles-for-loss, part of 6 tackles-for-loss accumulated by the program. Fogg also logged the team’s only sack.
On special teams, it was a record-setting day for senior punter Adam Korsak. The Melbourne, Australia, native punted for a total of 444 yards, his season-high for yards and his third-highest total of his career. In the third quarter, Korsak uncorked a 74-yard punt, his season-long and the fifth-longest punt in program history.
Rutgers will return home to take on Maryland in an important final game of the regular season. The game will kick off at noon and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
“My time with the team every day gives me confidence. I don’t know if we’ll win or not, but we are really going to fight our you-know-what’s-off to get ready,” Schiano said. “Whoever’s healthy is going to play, and we’re going to do everything we can to write the last chapter of the regular season to our favor.”
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