Where do they go from here? With two games left in the regular season, the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions still have a likely path to a New Year’s Six bowl. But they can hardly afford another slip-up.
Next on the schedule is a date Saturday (noon ET) with Rutgers. The Nittany Lions are 20.5-point favorites (-110) after opening at -17.5 (-110). Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are +20.5 (-110) on the college football betting line. The projected total is 43 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
Let’s dive into the Rutgers vs Penn State highlights and break down the betting odds in our college football game preview.
Location: Beaver Stadium; University Park, Pa.
Rutgers vs Penn State Betting Trends
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 6-2-2 against the spread, including 2-1-1 on the road. The total has gone Over in four of Rutgers’ last six games. The Penn State Nittany Lions, meanwhile, are 7-3 ATS, including 4-2 at home. The total has gone Over in 12 of Penn State’s last 18 games. But it’s gone Under in eight of the last nine games against Rutgers. That’s important to remember when assessing our Rutgers vs Penn State highlights.
Playoffs? Playoffs?? No Chance.
The Penn State Nittany Lions fell 24-15 to Michigan on Saturday, dashing their faint hopes for a Big Ten championship. A 4.5-point underdog, Penn State managed only 238 yards of total offense and failed to cover the spread for the third time in four games.
The Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) dropped three spots to No. 12 in the NCAA football rankings and are now off the board for the College Football Playoff, as there’s realistically no path for them to contention. Having already lost to both Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State, James Franklin’s team will likely have to settle for a spot in the New Year’s Six.
Following another underwhelming performance by quarterback Drew Allar against a high-profile opponent, the Nittany Lions fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurich. He’ll be jointly replaced by running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and tight ends coach Ty Howle.
Although Allar (21 TDs, 1 INT) has done well to protect the ball, the lack of big plays remains glaring. Allar’s 6.34 yards per attempt ranks 115th nationally. He threw for only 70 yards on 10 of 22 passing against Michigan and has averaged only 130.5 yards in the Nittany Lions’ two losses.
Projected for 9.5 wins, the Nittany Lions now need victories over both Rutgers and Michigan State to surpass preseason expectations. Keep that in mind when analyzing the Rutgers vs Penn State highlights.
Rutgers Keeps Clearing Benchmarks
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are now 6-4 (3-4 Big Ten) following a 22-0 loss to Iowa in Week 11. A 1.5-point underdog, Rutgers was 2 for 11 on third down and finished with only 127 total yards. The total for that game opened as high as 30 but dropped to 27.5, the lowest for any college football game since at least 2000.
Despite the loss, Rutgers is in the midst of its winningest season since 2014. It’s also guaranteed to land its first bowl since 2021.
Junior Kyle Monangai was limited to 39 yards on 13 carries against Iowa. Prior to that, he’d had three straight 100-yard rushing games. He’s up to 942 yards (5.2 yards per carry) on the season, representing the Scarlet Knights’ biggest threat on offense.
While Rutgers ranks toward the bottom of the country in total offense (310.5 yards per game), it’s managed to make the most of its opportunities. Rutgers is still averaging a respectable 24.1 points per game. That number’s largely swayed by losses to Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa, in which it totaled just 23 points.
Rutgers has already blown past its preseason projection of 4.0 wins. Victories over Penn State and Maryland would give Rutgers its first winning season in Big Ten play since its arrival in 2014.
Handicapping the Game
Another top-10 showdown, another flat performance from Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ loss to Michigan is concerning. Ultimately, it speaks to the team’s ceiling. They’re not good enough to compete at the top of college football.
But that shouldn’t matter this week. Rutgers may be improved, but it still has glaring flaws. Greg Schiano deserves a ton of credit for getting the Scarlet Knights back to a bowl game.
While the Scarlet Knights should be able to keep this within three touchdowns, this is a prime bounce-back spot for Penn State. Look for the Nittany Lions to take care of business at home.