A Look at Penn State’s Final Two Games

Penn State's final two regular season games are against two of the worst team in the Big Ten East. Rutgers and Michigan State are the final two.

The Penn State Nittany Lions only have two regular season games remaining for the 2022 season. The
Nittany Lions are currently ranked #11 in the CFB Playoff Standings and third in the Big Ten East. Sitting
at only two losses against Michigan and Ohio State, Penn State looks to finish strong at a 10-2 heading
into a potential New Years Six Bowl matchup. The only two teams standing in the way of those hopes?
Rutgers and Michigan State. Let’s take a look at Penn State’s final two regular season games.

Penn State’s Final Two Regular Season Games to Finish 10-2

Looking at Rutgers

Penn State will travel to New Jersey this weekend for a road matchup against a struggling Rutgers squad.
The Scarlet Knights are coming off a three-game losing streak and are sitting at 4-6 on the season with
only one win against a Big Ten opponent. That win came in a close contest against Indiana back on
October 22nd. Still, the Nittany Lions need to be ready and use the momentum from a shutout win over
Maryland to carry them through the Scarlet Knights.

Penn State Defense vs Rutgers Offense

The Penn State defense was dominant against the Terps on Saturday. Manny Diaz’s group pitched the
first shutout this season and sacked Taulia Tagovailoa seven times in a 30-0 victory. This was a defense
without star cornerback Joey Porter Jr. It was indicated by Head Coach James Franklin this week that
Porter Jr was out due to appendicitis and is expected to return sometime this season. The Nittany Lion
defense needs to exude the same energy and presence on Saturday against a struggling Rutgers offense.
The Scarlet Knights have used five quarterbacks this season and combined those five have thrown 13
interceptions. Gavin Wimsatt will likely get the start again this week for Rutgers. The sophomore has
played in six games this season and has thrown four touchdowns and six of the Scarlet Knights’ 13
interceptions. The Penn State pass rush will look to keep Wimsatt off balance and force Rutgers to beat
them on the ground.

The Nittany Lions’ rush defense struggled mightily early in the season but has improved since the loss
against Michigan. This improvement will be key against a Rutgers offense that really only has the rushing
attack with Kyle Monangai. Monangai was the bright spot for Rutgers in the loss against Michigan State
a week ago. The back rushed for 162 yards and was averaging just over six yards per carry. If the Penn
State defense doesn’t step off the gas and builds off the last two weeks, look for yet another dominant
defensive performance against a subpar offense.

Penn State Offense vs Rutgers Defense

Starting quarterback Sean Clifford passed Trace McSorley for the most passing yards in a career in Penn
State history last week against Maryland. Clifford has amassed 10,023 passing yards so far with two
regular season games to go. This was all in a game where the rushing attack shined. The Penn State
freshmen running back duo had yet another great game against Maryland. Nicholas Singleton and
Kaytron Allen have been sharing touches all season, with Allen shining as of late. Singleton, however,
was the start of the show on Saturday. The freshman rushed for 122 yards and two 20+ yard touchdown
runs. He also earned his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor for his performance. Allen wasn’t far behind, rushing for 73 yards.

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The rushing attack excelled despite the Nittany Lion offensive line being without three starters. The
young line was able to get a push all game, keeping Clifford on his feet and the running backs moving. This will be key again this weekend in a hostile Rutgers environment. Wesley Bailey and Tyreem Powell
lead the Scarlet Knights in sacks and tackles for loss this season. The young offensive line will need to be
aware of both.

Balanced Attack

Penn State is at its best when the offense is balanced. In addition, the tight ends continued to get involved. This was two straight weeks with constant calls for the tight ends. This is something fans have been calling for all season and it is finally paying off. Theo Johnson and Brenton Strange accounted for six receptions, with Strange on the other end of a receiving touchdown. With a quiet day for Clifford and the receivers, the tight ends were a bright spot. Keeping a balanced attack is key for the rest of the season. It doesn’t hurt that kicker, Jake Pinegar is hitting his stride as well. Pinegar accounted for 12 points against Maryland and earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time in his rollercoaster career.

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Michigan State Look Ahead

The second of Penn State’s final two regular season games is against Michigan State for Senior Day.
Clifford will be among the seniors being recognized on that day. He has had a polarizing relationship
with the Nittany Lion fan base, but overall, he leaves Penn State in a better position. He holds many
Penn State records. He has been a leader by example on and off the field his entire career and has had
some very exciting wins in his tenure. With Drew Allar more than likely taking over next season, this will
be a chance for Nittany Lion fans to remember that Clifford has been the leader of the team they love
for better or worse and will hopefully give him a proper send-off in his last home game in Blue and
White.

It is not lost to Penn State fans that the two worst teams in the Big Ten East close out the Nittany Lions
schedule. Both still need to be looked at as tough Big Ten opponents to finish the season strong for a
favorable Bowl Game.

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