No. 16 Penn State tries for 12th straight win over Rutgers
No. 16 Penn State (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten, No. 14 CFP) at Rutgers (1-9, 0-7), noon EST (Big Ten Network)
Line: Penn State by 26½.
Series record: Penn State leads 26-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
For Penn State, a late run at a bowl game on New Year’s Day. The Nittany Lions climbed to No. 14 in the CFP this week after beating Wisconsin. While it’s a longshot, blowing out Rutgers and Maryland in the final two weeks of the season coupled with losses by higher ranked teams, might get them in a top bowl. Rutgers is playing its final home game and coach Chris Ash would like nothing better than to see his seniors leave with a W.
Penn State’s front seven verses Rutgers’ offensive line. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in both sacks (3.4) and tackles for loss (7.4) per game, ranking sixth and 19th nationally, respectively. DE Yetur Gross-Matos leads with eight sacks. Rutgers has allowed 1.20 sacks per game to rank second in the league and 17th nationally.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Penn State: Trace McSorley will set the school record for wins by a quarterback if the Nittany Lions beat Rutgers. The redshirt senior has 29 and is currently tied for the top spot with Todd Blackledge (1980-82) and Tony Sacca (1988-91). McSorley also is one touchdown shy of 100 for his career, 118 yards shy of the Penn State career quarterback rushing record of 1,637 yards held by Michael Robinson (2002-05) and 129 yards shy of 2,000 yards passing this season.
Rutgers: RB Isiah Pacheco had a career-high 142 yards rushing against No. 4 Michigan last weekend, the third highest by a Scarlet Knight against a ranked opponent.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State has won 20 out of its last 25 games against conference opponents. … Rutgers has lost nine straight since beating Texas State in the season opener. … The Scarlet Knights have lost 11 straight to the Nittany Lions, last winning in 1988. … The seniors being honored before the home finale: DB Blessuan Austin, DL Jon Bateky, OL Tariq Cole, DB Saquan Hampton, OL Zack Heeman, DB Kiy Hester, RB Jonathan Hilliman, P Nick Johnston, LB Trevor Morris, QB Rob Nittolo, QB Giovanni Rescigno, LB Deonte Roberts, DL Muhammad Wainwright, TE Jerome Washington, DB Isaiah Wharton and DL Kevin Wilkins.