Rutgers did its best to hang in with Penn State, and even managed to make it to halftime behind by only 9 points.
But Rutgers is a really bad football team. They have two wins on the season. Howard. And New Mexico. They have not won a Big Ten Game this season. They came close with a 34-32 loss to Minnesota.
Yet, the score was a god-awful 9-0 at the midway point. Penn State fumbled the opening kick-off. The Knights still could not score, as they missed a field goal. I’d have to check the stats (and quite frankly I am too lazy to do that right now) but that might have been the only time they started in PSU territory all night.
But true to form, the lackluster first half performance was just a bland appetizer to the festive and delicious meal yet to come in the second half. Penn State pulled away while the defense shut down the Scarlet Knights and handed them their 4th shutout of the season.
Special teams avenged their game opening fumble with a blocked punt in the third quarter.
I almost felt sorry for the Rutgers players as the stadium was nearly empty by the middle of the fourth quarter. Granted, the weather was not pleasant, but still you would have thought some of their fans would hang in there until the end. I guess that makes them fair weather fans.
Next Up: The Michigan State Spartans.
Sparty almost upset the Buckeyes on senior day at home in East Lansing, but a questionable decision and subsequent play call to go for two with over four minutes to play in the game, left the Green and White a point short. They lost 17-16.
Up north, the wolverines dispatched the annoying Hoosiers 20-10, but trailed Indiana 7-3 at the half.
This sets up the season finale next week.
If Michigan wins, they will go to the Big Ten Championship game.
If Ohio State wins, and Penn State wins, the Nittany Lions will play in their first ever Big Ten Championship game in sunny Indianapolis, a prize package worth millions.
Since UM and O$U face off at high noon, Penn State will know the outcome of that game by the time they kick off in Happy Valley at 3:30.
The Spartans played the Buckeyes tough, but O$U has struggled on the road this year while dominating at home. The game against Harbaugh’s team will be in Columbus. Ohio State opened as an early 7 point favorite.
Either way, PSU needs to take care of business on their own senior day. The Spartans have three wins (Furman, Notre Dame, and Rutgers.) When you’re marquee win is against Rutgers, it really puts your season in perspective.
I think Penn State wins this game comfortably, but if UM beats O$U, it may take the wind out of our sails and work against us.
But . . . an Ohio State victory? Beaver Stadium will be rocking!