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Brian Fonseca


Rutgers hosts Penn State in third installment of regional rivalry

Entering this season, the situation surrounding the Big Ten East was as clear cut as it could possibly be — Michigan, Ohio State vying for the top spot and every other team picking up the crumbs far below them. But in a sport as unpredictable and chaotic as college football, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the team’s projected to be at the mid-tier of the division emerged as a contender for the title and a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. The shock comes in that team not being Michigan State, a team a year removed from a Big Ten conference title and a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff, but Penn State, a program seemingly at a standstill in the third year of head coach James Franklin’s tenure. The Nittany Lions started the same way the Rutgers football team, their next opponent did, splitting the first four games of the season, including their first Big Ten games of the year. The results of those first conference games were promising for the Scarlet Knights and worrying for Penn State, with Rutgers nearly upsetting defending Big Ten West division champions Iowa at home and the Nittany Lions getting blown out at the Big House by the Wolverines, but the roles reversed as the conference schedule played out. As the Knights went on to lose every other Big Ten game it played, falling to the Spartans, the Buckeyes and the Wolverines by a combined score of 185-0, Penn State has run the table in its last seven conference games, shooting itself up the playoff committee’s rankings to No. 8. With two weeks remaining in the season, the Nittany Lion’s path to improbably winning the East is simple — win their final two games and hope Michigan loses one of its last two contests. That’s where the Knights come in. Hosting a program that’s rapidly become the most bitter Big Ten rival among its fanbase, Rutgers has little more than pride to play for.Nov 18 2016

Rutgers evaluates options to replace injured Quanzell Lambert

When senior wide receiver Janarion Grant remained on the ground following a 76-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter of the Rutgers football team’s matchup with Iowa last Saturday, the air seemed to be sucked out of High Point Solutions Stadium and only returned when he was given a standing ovation as he limped off the turf. When senior defensive end Quanzell Lambert remained on the ground after making a crucial tackle to force the Hawkeyes into a third down, the energy among the 44,061 fans in attendance remained nearly the same as the Scarlet Knights came closer to achieving a key stop to keep their chances alive. The Timber Creek High School product received a standing ovation as loud as the one Grant was given as he was carted off the field with a brace on his right knee, but the crowd grew silent shortly after as LeShun Daniels rushed 12 yards to gain a first down and seal a 14-7 win for Iowa. Playing in Lambert’s place was Darnell Davis, a junior who started his career at Rutgers as a walk-on, received a scholarship under former head coach Kyle Flood, but is now back to playing as walk-on. Davis was on the right edge of the defensive line on the play following Lambert’s injury — one that will keep him and Grant out for the season — and it was the right side that Daniels’ exploited as he rounded the edge on his way to the first down. The play wasn’t Davis’ finest — he was contained by the offensive lineman across from him — but it was far from the level he’s been performing in the increased number of reps he’s been trusted with this season, one that rivals that of the player he’s replacing. “Darnell has played several snaps of football already,” said head coach Chris Ash.Sep 29 2016