PSU highlights, lowlights
By Neil Rudel
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 20-7 victory over Rutgers on Saturday at HighPoint.com Stadium:
Play of the game: On fourth-and-2 goal from the Penn State 2 midway through the third quarter, Rutgers went to some trickeration, with tailback Jonathan Hilliman taking a direct snap, rolling left and throwing in the end zone to quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, who was wide open. Rescigno dropped it.
Offensive player of the game: Not many choices. Let’s go with Trace McSorley, who completed 17-of-37 for 183 yards, one interception and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 39 yards.
Defensive player of the game: PSU linebacker Micah Parsons made seven tackles, including two for loss and forced a fumble.
Special teams player of the game: PSU punter Blake Gillikin averaged 48.3 yards on six punts.
Most telling statistic: Rutgers had one passing first down.
Hidden statistic: Penn State’s longest rushing attempt was 9 yards.
Best run: Rescigno had two strong scrambles in the third quarter, one for 18 yards to the PSU 25.
Best pass: McSorley found Jahan Dotson over the middle for 35 yards to the Rutgers 14 late in the second quarter.
Worst pass: Trying to throw a ball away, Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski underthrew and was intercepted by Garrett Taylor, giving the Lions possession at the Scarlet Knights’ 28 late in the second quarter and setting up PSU’s 10-0 halftime lead.
Best catch: Rutgers cornerback Isaiah Wharton intercepted McSorley in the third quarter on a deep shot over the middle that Justin Shorter couldn’t reel in.
Catch it, will ya: KJ Hamler dropped a punt he recovered and Mac Hippenhammer dropped a pass, both in the first quarter. Dotson also dropped a TD pass in the waning seconds of the first half.
Hold it, won’t ya: In addition to Hamler’s muff, Miles Sanders fumbled away a late-game possession.
Best block: Rutgers receiver Eddie Lewis decked Nick Scott in the third quarter.
Best tackle: On third-and-goal from the PSU 1 in the third quarter, Altoona’s Kevin Givens broke through and dumped Hilliman for a 1-yard loss.
Best kick: Gillikin, using the wind, unloaded a 70-yard punt in the fourth quarter.
Worst kick: Up 20-0, Rafael Checa booted the kickoff out of bounds, giving RU possession at the Lions’ 35.
Worst penalty: After a sack/fumble the Rutgers 24 on third down that would have forced a first-quarter punt, Shareef Miller carried on, removed his helmet and was slapped with a 15-yard penalty that gift-wrapped the Knights a first down. Dumb.
Best call: See play of the game. Perfectly executed except for the end result.
Worst call: Whoever decided to continue blowing the siren inside HighPoint.com Stadium.
Best effort: PSU freshman tight end Pat Freiermuth nabbed two touchdown passes.
Unsung hero: Koa Farmer hasn’t been the best open-field tackler for the Nittany Lions defense, but he played and made eight tackles and broke up a pass.
Best moment: Rutgers’ Vivian Stringer was recognized for her 1,000th career victory after the first quarter. Stringer is the sixth winningest coach in women’s basketball history.