Blue White Illustrated

Rutgers Postgame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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the conference, but the Nittany Lions weren't able to move the ball with any consistency even when they were starting out with excellent field position. But Rutgers had even less success than Penn State. Despite holding the ball for more than 32 minutes, the Scarlet Knights managed only 234 yards, 88 fewer than the Lions. Penn State's strong defensive perform- ance ended up being the difference, as it allowed the team to keep Rutgers at arm's length, even with its own offense strug- gling. "When we watched these guys on tape, we had a lot of respect for them and how they played and how hard they played," coach James Franklin said. "We didn't feel like we were going to come in and this was going to be an easy game for us. We thought it was going to be a battle. We saw these guys trending in the right direction, playing hard, especially in the first half of games." The Nittany Lions caught an enormous break in the third quarter when Rutgers flubbed its attempt to run the "Philly Spe- cial." Facing fourth-and-goal, the Scarlet Knights managed to sneak quarterback Giovanni Rescigno into the end zone without anyone noticing. But when Trey Sneed lobbed him a short pass, the backup quarterback dropped the ball. The fourth-down failure gave Penn State pos- session and preserved a 13-0 lead. In was one of the decisive moments in a game that improved Penn State's record to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the conference, while dropping Rutgers to 1-10 and 0-8. Here's a look at the good and the bad: THE GOOD • Two of Pat Freiermuth's three catches were for touchdowns, as he caught a 6- yarder in the second quarter and an 18- yarder in the fourth. He's steadily developed into one of McSorley's most re- liable receiving targets over the second half of the season and is now the team leader with six TD catches. "He's big, he's strong, he's physical, he's got great body control. He can contort his body into different positions and come down with the ball," Franklin said. "He's done some really nice things all season long, and he's got a lot of confidence, not only with what he's done in the run game but with what he's done in the pass game. He's also a quick learner. He's able to pick things up and play with confidence and play fast. I think the year that he's put to- gether has been really impressive." • Penn State's defense totaled four sacks against a Rutgers offensive line that had done a very effective job of protecting its quarterbacks this season. The Scarlet Knights went into the game having sur- rendered only 12 sacks all year. The Nittany Lions chased Artur Sitkowski from the game late in the first half, holding him to three completions in seven attempts for 18 yards and intercept- ing two passes. Rescigno fared little better a

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