No. 8 Penn State Looks to Keep Championship Dream Alive against Rutgers

No. 8 Penn State Looks to Keep Championship Dream Alive against Rutgers

No. 8 Penn State (8-2, 6-1) will journey to Piscataway, N.J. this coming weekend to kick off against Rutgers (2-8, 0-7). Although Rutgers has previously maintained that this game is a “rivalry” game, this year the Scarlet Knights have been oddly quiet. Perhaps it has something to do with Penn State’s formidable appearance as one of the top 10 teams in the nation.

Head Coach James Franklin mentioned that the team is “excited about this game and this opportunity,” and reminds fans that in the “last couple games we’ve had some success,” but want to approach this game with the same heart and dedication as any other game.

Rutgers has faced unprecedented difficulty this season, going 2-8 and 0-7 thus far in the Big Ten.

However, the Scarlet Knights fared well against Minnesota and Indiana, missing wins by small margins for each game.

Rutgers should not be taken lightly, especially when one factors in that it is a primetime game on the road for Penn State.

a lot of talent,” said junior tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.). “They’re going to come out there and it’s going to be a big game for both sides.”

Penn State leads Rutgers in nearly every statistical category. The Nittany Lions demolish the Scarlet Knights in total offensive yards per game with 414.4 (Rutgers: 296.1). The Lions also boast a 60% conversion on fourth down (Rutgers: 46%). Lastly, Penn State edges out Rutgers in passing yards per game with 241.6 (Rutgers: 140.8).


Blue and white fans beware; Rutgers does have eight interceptions on record, and Penn State only has nine. Rutgers also beats Penn State by four percentage points with a 32% third down conversion.

Statistics aside, the No. 8 Lions are focused on just one thing: winning and keeping a good, concentrated attitude.

the stuff that we can control,” said Franklin. “Focus on us: academically, athletically, socially, spiritually… giving ourselves the best chance to be successful on Saturday… giving ourselves the best chance to be successful… Monday through Friday.”

The players also echo Coach Franklin’s sentiment.

Junior cornerback Christian Campbell (Phenix City, Ala.) commented on treating each game as fresh opportunity for achieving something great.

“The thing we’re focusing on the most is just doing more this week than we did last week, which means studying more film… doing my job and just doing more than I did last week,” said Campbell.

Gesicki echoed Campbell’s statement.

“You just have to take it one game at a time,” said Gesicki. “Every week is a one-game season, and our goal is to just go 1-0… do everything in your power to just come out there and be successful and execute your role play in and play out.”

Penn State’s admirable attitude is what has propelled them into the top 10 teams in the nation, and a Big Ten Championship game may not be far behind.

Tune into the Big Ten Network this Saturday for an epic 8 p.m. kickoff against Rutgers!