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

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – James Franklin picked up his 100th career coaching victory by seeing No. 11 Penn State make big plays in every phase 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 beating Rutgers 55-10 Saturday.

Freshman Nick Singleton scored on a 100-yard kickoff return, Kobe King gave Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) the lead for good with a 14-yard fumble return and Ji'Ayir Brown rumbled 70 yards with another fumble as the Nittany Lions blew it open in the second half.

“We’re playing really good complementary football,” Franklin said. “We scored three non-offensive touchdowns, which is special. We’re playing really good on defense.”

Clifford (17 of 26 for 157 yards) threw a 10-yard TD pass to Tyler Warren and scored on a 14-yard run as the Nittany Lions beat Rutgers (4-7, 1-7) for the 16th straight time.

Penn State led 28-10 at the half and the game was all but over after Curtis Jacobs sacked freshman quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on the fourth play 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 score turned the momentum. “We had a little mishap early, but we were able to get back to where we were supposed to be.”

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

Freshman Kaytron Allen rushed for 117 yards and scored on an 8-yard run as Penn State won its third straight. The Nittany Lions defense limited Rutgers to 167 yards and forced three turnovers that led to 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 its last last at 10-7. The Scarlet Knights have lost 37 straight games to ranked opponents, a run that dates to 2009. The 55 points were the most it has allowed this season.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said his team’s margin of error is very slim. He felt the biggest play might have happened in the second quarter with his team 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 keep possession.

“We’re not quite good enough yet to overcome that,” Schiano said, noting later he sincerely believes that Scarlet Knights are getting better as a program and will challenge for a league title down the road.

DYNAMIC DUO

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

“It just shows that we’re doing something right as (an offensive line) unit,” lineman Sam Wormley said. “That our running backs are 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 as a unit, we’re all coming together.”

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. Jaylin Lucas of Indiana 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 set by Alexander Kinal of Wake Forest (2012-15). His 14,876 yards punting is also a record, betting old mark of 14,546 by Derek Admas of Kent State-Northwestern (2016-2021).

THE TAKEAWAY

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are still in the running for a major bowl berth. If No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan get berths in the college football playoffs, if might be the Rose Bowl. The two undefeated team meet next Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

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

UP NEXT:

Penn State: plays host to Michigan State.

Rutgers: at Maryland.

No. 14 Penn State defense shines in 30-0 rout of Maryland

Penn State v Maryland
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Nick Singleton scored two touchdowns and ran for 113 of his 122 yards in the first half and the defense of No. 14 Penn State smothered Maryland in a 30-0 win on Saturday.

Tight end Brenton Strange caught a touchdown pass and Jake Pinegar kicked three field goals for the Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten, No. 14 CFP), who beat Maryland for the seventh time in nine games since the Terps (6-4, 3-4) joined the Big Ten in 2014.

Like the overall series, this one was all Nittany Lions thanks to Penn State’s pass rush.

Soggy conditions couldn’t slow Penn State’s front seven. Neither could Maryland’s reeling offensive line.

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was hit hard as he threw incomplete on the Terps’ first play from scrimmage – an omen of things to come from a Nittany Lion defense that notched seven sacks, seven QB hurries, forced nine punts and three turnovers on down.

The Nittany Lions did most of their damage early. They sacked Tagovailoa five times and held Maryland to just 27 total yards before halftime.

By that point, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had put the game out of reach when he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Strange just 6:08 in. Meanwhile, Singleton lapped Maryland’s defense on a pair of fourth-and-inches runs that went for 45- and 27-yard touchdowns. Pinegar added field goals from 50 and 46 yards to put Penn State up 27-0 at halftime.

Pinegar added a 21-yarder midway through the third.

Tagovailoa finished 11 for 22 for 74 yards. Roman Hemby led the Terps with 68 rushing yards on 13 carries.

THE TAKEAWAY

Maryland: It looks as if it could be another long November for the Terps. They’re just 2-9 in the month all-time under coach Mike Locksley and were beaten all over the field on Saturday. Their inability to run the ball and protect Tagovailoa doomed them from the start.

Penn State: Although the Nittany Lions don’t have a shot at a Big Ten championship, the future looks bright. The team’s most impactful players down the stretch are freshmen. Linebacker Abdul Carter had a team-best seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Singleton and fellow back Kaytron Allen appear to be Penn State’s best running back tandem since Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders.

UP NEXT

Maryland: Hosts No. 2 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) on Saturday.

Penn State: Visits Rutgers (4-6, 1-6 Big Ten) on Saturday.

Tuimoloau shines as No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 13 Penn State 44-31

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — J.T. Tuimoloau had a strip sack to set up No. 2 Ohio State for a separation-score in the fourth quarter and then a pick-6 to cap a spectacular performance by the defensive end as the Buckeyes erased a fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 13 Penn State 44-31.

C.J. Stroud found his groove for Ohio State in the fourth quarter and finished with 354 yards passing as the Buckeyes (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) ran their winning streak in the rivalry to six in a row – none by more than 13 points.

As has often been the case when these teams get together lately, the Buckeyes were a double-digit favorite and the Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2) played them tough.

In this case, though, Penn State didn’t just hang around. The Nittany Lions went up 21-16 with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter on a tough 1-yard touchdown run by Kaytron Allen on fourth down.

Ohio State outscored Penn State 28-3 the rest of the way, with Tuimoloau providing the key play after the Buckeyes went up 23-21.

Tuimoloau also recovered the fumble after swiping the ball from Sean Clifford with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter. One play later, Stroud connected with Cade Stover, who rumbled through the Penn State defense for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 30-21.

Tuimoloau also had his first career interception in the first quarter, a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage that resulted in Ohio State’s first interception of the game and another sack.

For his final act, Tuimoloau beat his block, reached up and grabbed Clifford’s short pass attempt at the 14-yard line and cruised into the end zone to make it 44-24.

Clifford threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns, but committed four turnovers.

TreVeyon Henderson scored twice in Ohio State’s fourth-quarter outburst, including a 41-yard run 35 seconds after Penn State took the lead. He added a 7-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left to make it 37-24.

Clifford, the sixth-year quarterback, whose up and down play has had some Nittany Lions fans clamoring to see more of five-star freshman Drew Allar, found success after the early turnovers.

Parker Washington broke free of two Ohio State tacklers and sprinted 58 yards for a score to cut the Ohio State lead to 10-7 in the second quarter and awaken a lunchtime crowd of more than 108,000 at Beaver Stadium.

Clifford hooked up with KeAndre Smith-Lambert down the middle for a 23-yard touchdown to give Penn State a 14-10 lead that prompted a singalong to “Sweet Caroline” from the “striped-out” fans.

A visit from Ohio State is usually a White Out game for Penn State, played at night. This time it was a big nooner with Fox in town and the Nittany Lions coming off a White Out romp last week against Minnesota.

Two weeks removed from getting pummeled on the road by Michigan, Penn State put up a four-quarter fight against the Buckeyes.

THE TAKEAWAY

Ohio State: A few days before the first College Football Playoff rankings are released, the Buckeyes faced their toughest test of the season so far – by far – and passed. Only a major upset over the next three weeks will keep the Buckeyes from rolling into the Michigan finale unbeaten.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions limped out of the Big House after allowing more than 400 yards rushing, but their athletic defense seemed to be a better match-up for the Buckeyes. At least for a while. Penn State heads into the final month of the season still hoping for a 10-win season, but with a Big Ten title out of reach.

UP NEXT

Ohio State: The Buckeyes are on the road again at Northwestern.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions start the closing stretch at Indiana.