Week 3 Preview: Penn State vs. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights look to get their first Big Ten win on Saturday against Penn States.

Rutgers has spent its offseason preparing for this game: it’s their first official conference matchup, the time to show and prove that they rightfully earned their spot in the Big Ten East. Sophomore Paul James will come in handy to Rutgers’ offense; he is their primary running back, averaging 5.1 yards per carry in this season so far. After last week’s 69-yard touchdown, James could also be great for third down conversions. Wide receiver Leonte Carroo is another offensive weapon for Rutgers, averaging 24.4 yards per reception so far, 7 yards more than what he averaged in 2013.

The Scarlet Knights will have to prevent Lions’ quarterback Christian Hackenberg from having any open targets on Saturday. Rutgers has allowed a combined 700 passing yards through two games, against Washington State and Howard. Freshman DaeSean Hamilton is Penn State’s “X Factor”, with 18 receptions and 234 yards in that two game stretch. Partnered with three great tight ends, the Nittany Lions have set up a lethal passing attack. However, they should work on establishing a consistent running game to secure a win on Saturday.

Along with a great quarterback, Penn State has an advantage on special teams. Averaging 48.8 yards on five punts against Akron, Chris Gulla is arguably the team’s best punter. This will give them a huge advantage when it comes to field positioning.

Saturday night is also Rutgers opportunity to shine. The Nittany Lions are Rutgers’ most difficult competitor yet, being their first power conference opponent of the season.┬áIf the Scarlet Knights can beat Penn State in James Franklin’s Big Ten debut, they’ll be in good standing among those who doubt their Big Ten qualifications. Slowing down the air raid and the ability to create turnovers will be key factors in determining the final result of this game.

*Section Photo credit to Matthew O’Haren, USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to John Beale, Associated Press

Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad Suspended For Season
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