Rutgers-PSU highlights, lowlights
UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 35-6 victory over Rutgers on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: Trace McSorley hit DaeSean Hamilton, who pitched a lateral back to Saquon Barkley, who gained 21 yards to the Rutgers 1, setting up the Lions’ third touchdown and 21-6 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Offensive player of the game: McSorley completed 16-of-21 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also picked up 44 net yards on 13 carries, including a 20-yard TD.
Defensive player of the game: Brandon Smith filled in for suspended linebacker Manny Bowen and racked up 10 tackles.
Most telling statistic: Rutgers managed a mere 43 yards passing, the lowest total by an Big Ten opponent since Penn State joined the conference in 1993.
Most deceiving statistic: The Nittany Lions ran just 52 plays, tying a season low (Pitt).
Hidden statistic: Rutgers went seven straight possessions, from early in the second quarter until five minutes were left in the game, without a first down.
Best run: McSorley’s 20-yard touchdown run with 7:36 left in the first half, which gave the Lions their first lead (7-6), came after a fake to Barkley.
Best pass: McSorley zinged a 22-yard slant pass to Hamilton for a touchdown with 1:13 left in the second quarter, extending the PSU lead to 14-6.
Worst pass: Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno overshot Hunter Hayek, who was open deep over the middle in the fourth quarter.
Best catch: Nothing spectacular so let’s give the nod to seldom-used Brandon Polk, who nabbed one for 17 yards in the fourth quarter.
Catch it, will ya: Rutgers opened the game with a pooch kick that Justin Davidovicz had check up at the Lions’ 21. It was recovered by the Knights’ Lawrence Stevens after Saquon Barkley didn’t come up to catch it. Cam Brown and Tariq Castro-Fields both dropped interceptions for PSU.
Hold it, won’t ya: Penn State didn’t fumble.
Best tackle: Rutgers’ Dacoven Bailey blitzed and dumped McSorley for a 12-yard loss in the third quarter, forcing a PSU punt and squandering Rutgers’ fumble of the second-half kickoff that the Lions recovered at the Knights’ 23.
Worst tackle(s): Penn State missed several early, allowing Rutgers to control the clock in the first quarter (10:35-4:25).
Best block: Didn’t nod off, but will have to look closer at the films. Pardon the copout.
Best hit: Lion safety Marcus Allen drilled Bailey late in the second quarter.
Best kick: Blake Gillikin, averaging 47.3 and on pace to set a Penn State season yards-per-punt record, boomed a 53-yarder in the first quarter.
Worst kick(s): Tyler Davis booted two kickoffs out of bounds.
Best call: Liked Rutgers, a 30-point underdog, going for fourth-and-1 from its 44 late in the first quarter. Rescigno converted on a quarterback sneak. Penn State fans may recall seeing a QB sneak as recently as 2013.
Worst call: Fourth-and-2 at the Penn State 48, leading 28-6 with 14 minutes left, the Lions punted.
Worst penalty: Christian Campbell recovered an onside kick in the third quarter, but he was offsides, negating the play.
Best effort: Let’s give this to Rutgers punter Ryan Anderson, who averaged 41.5 on yards on six punts, including a 50-yarder.
Unsung hero: Juwan Johnson led the Lions with five receptions for 78 yards, both team highs.