Even three weeks ago, speculations and buzz was building with regards to the famed Penn State vs. Rutgers game. Rutgers, who has been credited with chanting “F**k Penn State” at every single one of their football games for the last year, spent the last few weeks building immeasurable hype surrounding the Scarlet Knights’ trip to Beaver Stadium.
Rutgers may have to change the tune of their song very quickly. In the last two weeks, more than six of Rutgers’ football players have dealt with law enforcement and Rutgers’ head coach Kyle Flood has been suspended from this weekend’s Penn State game, and games against Kansas and Michigan State as well as fined $50,000.
In the last two weeks, a total of six Rutgers players have been arrested on varying degrees of criminality. Five players in connection with a home invasion, and one who charged with an act of domestic violence. The five players who broke into a home were dismissed from the team, and the one accused of assaulting a young woman is currently suspended.
To add insult to injury, head coach Kyle Flood has been fined $50,000 suspended for three games this season, including this weekend’s battle, due to a violation of Rutgers’ athletics and academics policies. Flood tried to circumvent university policy by privately emailing a professor about a student’s academic performance. At Rutgers and at most other major universities, this is a highly prohibited act and can even result in the removal of a coach or staff member.
With the Scarlet Knights suddenly not looking so royal, Penn State has an excellent opportunity to continue their winning tradition against Rutgers. Head coach James Franklin has made it clear that “the biggest thing we focus on is Penn State,” and that he wants the squad to not be concerned about the situation regarding Rutgers. The most important thing, Franklin went on to say, is to “focus on our standards of how we want to practice, how we want to play, and how we want to prepare. It’s about us.”
That being said, Franklin has commented that the offensive line has progressed since the Temple game, but that there is still work to be done. True freshman running back, Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.), is slated to be an impressive threat yet again come this weekend. Fans can expect to see a crisper punting game, as Pasqueriello (Melbourne, Victoria, Aus.) and Gulla (Toms River, N.J.) have been working with special teams coach, Charles Huff to improve accuracy.
This weekend is also Beaver Stadium’s first Stripe Out, in which fans will wear blue or white, depending on their seats. The entire student section will be a white-out. Knights may have armor and armies, but lions have speed and arguably the biggest pack known to man: Beaver Stadium. Let’s show Rutgers who owns this rivalry by supporting the Nittany Lions this weekend from kickoff to the final play. We Are!