No. 11 Penn State beats Rutgers for the 16th straight year

PISCATAWAY, NJ — James Franklin earned his 100th coaching win of his career by watching No. 11 Penn State make big plays at every stage of the game.

Sean Clifford ran for a touchdown and threw for another and the Nittany Lions scored twice on fumble returns and once on a kickoff return in Saturday’s 55-10 win over Rutgers.

Freshman Nick Singleton hit with a 100-yard kickoff return, Kobe King put Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) ahead with a 14-yard fumble return, and Ji’Ayir Brown rumbled 70 yards with another fumble when the Nittany Lions blasted it open in the second half.

“We play really good complementary football,” said Franklin. “We scored three non-offensive touchdowns, which is special. We play really well in defence.”

Clifford (17 of 26 for 157 yards) threw a 10-yard TD pass to Tyler Warren and hit on a 14-yard rush as the Nittany Lions put Rutgers (4-7, 1-7) in for a 16th time episode defeated.

Penn State led 28-10 at halftime and the game was all but over after Curtis Jacobs sacked freshman quarterback Gavin Wimsatt in the fourth game of the second half and Brown picked up the fumble and had a clear path to the end zone.

“I thought we were dominant,” said Jacobs, who felt the scoop and the result turn the momentum. “We had a little mishap early on but we were able to get back to where we should be.”

The last time Penn State scored in a game on offense, defense and special teams was in 2017 against Indiana.

Freshman Kaytron Allen rushed for 117 yards and scored on an 8-yard rush as Penn State won its third straight win. The Nittany Lions’ defense limited Rutgers to 167 yards and forced three turnovers that resulted in 21 points.

Freshman quarterback Gavin Wimsatt (10-of-29 for 122) threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Shameen Jones in the first quarter to give Rutgers his final final pass at 10-7. The Scarlet Knights have lost 37 straight games to ranked opponents, a streak dating back to 2009. The 55 points was the highest they have allowed this season.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said his team’s margin for error is very small. He felt the biggest game might have come in the second quarter when his team was trailing 14-10. Penn State punt Barney Amor mishandled a snap and was tackled near his own 20-yard line.

An offside penalty allowed Penn State to retain possession.

“We’re not good enough to get over that yet,” Schiano said, later noting that he firmly believes Scarlet Knights will get better as a program and will eventually fight for a championship title.

DYNAMIC DUO

Singleton and Allen are the first two freshmen in Conference history to rush for at least 700 yards for the same team.

“It just goes to show that as a unit (as an offensive line) we’re doing something right,” said lineman Sam Wormley. “For our running backs to be able to trust us and hit the holes and believe in our blocks and we’re going to make that block. It just shows that we are all coming together as a unit.”

NOTES: …Singleton’s return was the first for Penn State since Lamont Wade had a 100-yarder against Michigan State in 2020. … It was the second kickoff returned for a TD against Rutgers this season. Indiana’s Jaylin Lucas opened a game here with a 93-yarder earlier this month. King’s TD was the Nittany Lions’ first fumble return for a TD since Torrence Brown had a 9-yard return in 2016. … Rutgers punter Adam Korsak punted 12 times and now has an NCAA-record 339 attempts, breaking the old mark of 337 sets set by Wake Forest’s Alexander Kinal (2012-15). His 14,876 yards punting is also a record, beating the old mark of 14,546 set by Kent State-Northwestern’s Derek Admas (2016-2021).

THE TAKE AWAY

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are still in contention for a Major Bowl spot. If No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan get berths in the college football playoffs, this could be the Rose Bowl. The two unbeaten teams meet next Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have lost four straight games and their hopes of a second straight postseason game are over.

NEXT:

Penn State: houses the state of Michigan.

Rutgers: in Maryland.

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