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Lions in control throughout for easy 23-7 win over Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — A lot of people expected a close game, and even that Rutgers might be able to beat Penn State, but that didn’t come close to happening Saturday.

The Nittany Lions controlled both sides of the ball and were never challenged in a 23-7 win at SHI Stadium. Penn State rode two big fourth-down stops in the first half that led to 14 points and won its second game in a row after a program-worst 0-5 start.

PSU’s defense stopped Rutgers on fourth-and-1 from its own 45 on two separate occasions early on. After the first stop, Sean Clifford threw a 29-yard TD pass to Parker Washington. Then after the second stop, Keyvone Lee scored on a 28-yard run to make it 17-0 midway through the second quarter.

Lee carried 17 times for 95 yards, while backup QB Will Levis carried 17 times for 65 yards without attempting a pass. Devyn Ford also rushed for 65 yards, on 11 carries, as PSU piled up 248 yards on the ground.

Clifford completed 15-of-22 passes for 133 yards with one TD and one interception.

Penn State’s defense was terrific all day. Rutgers’ only points came after a Clifford interception that gave Rutgers the ball at the Lions’ 36.

PSU held the Scarlet Knights to just 205 yards and 12 first downs, frustrating them time and again with big stops that killed their hopes for momentum.

Update: 3 p.m.

Penn State 23, Rutgers 7: Jake Pinegar kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7:27 left to play.

Update: 2 p.m.

Penn State 20, Rutgers 0: On Rutgers’ first possession of the second half, Ellis Brooks forced a fumble and Jesse Luketa recovered for PSU at the Scarlet Knights’ 39. The Lions stalled, and Jordan Stout kicked a 47-yard FG with 11:38 to go in the third.

Update: 1:35 p.m.

Penn State leads 17-0 at the half and has dominated on both sides of the ball. The Lions have 229 yards, to just 43 for Rutgers. PSU also has 133 yards rushing, compared to 12 for Rutgers. The Lions have 14 first downs, only two for the Scarlet Knights.

Update: 1:05 p.m.

Penn State 17, Rutgers 0: The Lions stopped Rutgers for a second time on fourth-and-1 from its own 45, taking over in plus territory. Devyn Ford scored from 7 yards out with 6:21 left in the half.

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Penn State 10, Rutgers 0: PSU ran right down the field and got to the Rutgers 12 before stalling, then Jake Pinegar kicked a 30-yard FG with 11:37 to go in the half.

Update: 12:35 p.m.

Penn State 7, Rutgers 0: PSU’s defense stopped Rutgers on fourth-and-1 at its own 45, and five plays later, Sean Clifford hit Parker Washington for a 29-yard TD strike with 3:32 left in the first.

 

Greetings from Piscataway, N.J., where Penn State will look for its second win in a row against a Rutgers team that is vastly improved this season.

Check back here throughout the game for scoring updates, highlights and analysis.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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