No. 11 Penn State Football returns to action Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. aiming to knock off Rutgers, and inch closer to a possible New Year’s Six Bowl berth.
To get everyone ready for the game, for this week’s edition of Behind Enemy Lines, we spoke to Aaron Breitman who covers Rutgers for The Scarlet Faithful
1. Your Initial thoughts on Penn State Football vs. Rutgers
I have concerns with how well the offensive line can hold up against the defensive front of Penn State.
While Rutgers had its best performance in Big Ten play last week against Michigan State, the Nittany Lions defense is playing at a much higher level.
For Rutgers to have a chance in this game, the offensive line has to protect Gavin Wimsatt in the pocket and help generate somewhat of a consistent ground game. Otherwise, it could get ugly with the offense unable to sustain drives and the defense then wearing thin.
2. Who on Rutgers’ offense should Penn State Football be concerned about?
Gavin Wimsatt will be making his fourth straight start at quarterback and he’s gotten better each week. He’s struggled with accuracy and turnovers but is coming off his best performance in which he was 20 of 34 for 234 yards with 2 touchdowns and no turnovers.
Again, facing the PSU defense is a different animal.
As a comparison, Wimsatt played pretty well in the first half against Michigan before throwing three interceptions in the second half. Saturday is another test in his development.
If Wimsatt can continue to take a step forward, he will make plays and hopefully that will result in Rutgers making it a competitive game.
3. What did you take away from last year’s battle
Rutgers was overpowered in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Penn State Football just beat them up physically. The RU defense has been improved this season and has been very physical at times this season. They didn’t play well against Michigan State and there are some concerns with the defense wearing down.
Both lines for Rutgers will need to step up and bring the fight to PSU in order to have a chance.
4. For those who don’t follow Rutgers, what makes this matchup very interesting
I think the fact that Rutgers has switched offensive coordinators and is developing their quarterback of the future makes them a bit more interesting than past years. There is some potential with this team.
The defense has shown some promise and have the majority of the starters with multiple years of eligibility remaining. It’s Greg Schiano’s third season and the hope is that this season is laying the developmental groundwork for next season to be the year the program takes a major step forward. How they fare against Penn State will be a factor in how we judge progress made this season.
5. What is one reason why Rutgers defeats Penn State
Special Teams is a strong unit with Adam Korsak as a true weapon as a punter,former All-Big Ten returner Aron Cruickshank and several blocks this season.
The unit did not play well against Michigan State, but they’ve changed games for the positive for Rutgers before.
If the Scarlet Knights can make some big plays on special teams, it could certainly make this matchup a lot more competitive. Of course, RU would need to play well in all phases to pull off the major upset that would ultimately make the season for this program.
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