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Rutgers football game week opponent profile: Penn State

The Rutgers football team's offense will look to score points against Penn State's vaunted defense this Saturday. – Photo by Hamza Azeem

The Rutgers football team will travel to Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania, to face off against Penn State on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (6-4, 3-4) are coming off a 22-0 defeat to Iowa.

The Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2) are also looking to get back in the win column after falling to Michigan by a score of 24-15.

The Daily Targum sat down with Joel Haas, football reporter for The Daily Collegian, to preview the matchup against No. 12 Penn State.

The Nittany Lions recently fired their offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich after their loss against the Wolverines (10-0, 7-0).

"I don’t think the offense is going to look much different from what we’ve seen in the past," Haas said on how the loss of Yurcich will affect the team. "I think the biggest difference will probably come in play-calling."

Assistant head coach and running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider and tight ends coach Ty Howle will share the interim offensive coordinator position for the remainder of the season.

Drew Allar has thrown for 1,965 yards, 21 touchdowns and one interception this season. Allar also has a passing completion percentage of approximately 60.

"I think the key for him is just getting into a rhythm early," Haas said on Allar’s key to having a good performance.

Penn State has a third down conversion percentage of 40.7 and has converted a conference-leading 232 first downs.

"I think the biggest thing is just how efficient they’ve been," Haas said on the team’s high-powered offense. "There’s been a big lack of explosive plays, but they’ve just been able to kind of move the ball down the field."

Kaytron Allen should make a big impact on Saturday, as he has a team-leading 659 rushing yards with four touchdowns.

"I think Kaytron really has stepped up the last couple weeks," Haas said. "It seems like he’s been kind of hot lately, sort of on an upward trajectory."

KeAndre Lambert-Smith has caught 52 passes this season for 651 yards, the fourth most in the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions' defense is as strong as the offense, as they allow 239.7 yards per game, the second-least in the nation. Penn State also has the second-best first-down defense in the country, as it has only allowed 133 first-downs.

"It’s definitely been the strength of the team," Haas said on the defense. "I think the biggest thing is that they’ve got playmakers all over the field."

Demeioun "Chop" Robinson and Adisa Isaac are two of those playmakers who could provide a challenge for Rutgers. Both players have combined for 36 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Knights will look to snap their 16-game losing streak against the Nittany Lions this Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

Kickoff is set for noon and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and 88.7 WRSU-FM. 

"I would maybe go with 34-17 (Penn State), something in that ballpark,” Haas said in his prediction for the game.

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on X

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