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Walker’s 3 Keys to Penn State Beating Rutgers

No. 11 Penn State will go into its matchup in the penultimate regular-season game and the final road game at Rutgers as a 19-point favorite, according to Circa Sports.

Penn State has bounced back from its loss to Ohio State with two of its best performances this season.

It beat Indiana 45-14 and shut out Maryland 30-0, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t follow suit this week. Since Rutgers has come to the Big Ten  and started to play Penn State annually, not only has Rutgers failed to beat Penn State, but it hasn’t scored more than ten points in eight series games.

Here are my three keys for Penn State to beat Rutgers and stay on track to get a New Year’s six bowl bid.

MATCH RUTGERS’ ENERGY

Believe it or not, Rutgers has something to play for Saturday. If Rutgers somehow finds a way to beat Penn State and win at Maryland next week, it will become bowl eligible. Furthermore, Saturday will be Rutgers’ Senior Day, and the last thing that Rutgers’ seniors want to tell their kids and grandkids is how they got dog-walked at home in their last home game. Penn State has to come out and match Rutgers’ energy early in the game, execute and let its talent do the rest.

KNOCK RUTGERS OUT EARLY, GIVE YOUNG PLAYERS CHANCE TO DEVELOP

Penn State is no doubt a better team, so it should jump on Rutgers early to go up big. If this happens, it will allow Penn State to pull its starters and get younger players a chance to shine. I’m just talking about Drew Allar. I’m talking about players like freshman wide receivers Omari Evans and Kaden Saunders. I’m talking about Drew Shelton and Vega Ioane on the offensive line. There’s a way to send Sean Clifford out into the sunset and build for the future, and Saturday will be an opportunity to achieve these goals as long as Penn State handles its business in the first half.

PLAY DISCIPLINED 

I know I’ve been saying things along this line in a lot of the keys to victory articles, but Penn State is a much better team than Rutgers. Penn State needs to take care of the football and limit penalties because upsets happen when the better  team plays sloppy. All Rutgers needs is a scoop and score, or a Clifford pick-six for it to gain confidence and stay in the game. Also, watch out for trick plays by Rutgers. Rather than Rutgers trying to make this game a slugfest, it could try to get crafty. I could see a fake punt or a flea flicker to catch Penn State off guard.

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

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