PSU Expected to Continue Impressive Winning Streak at Rutgers


The Penn State Nittany Lions are ranked #8 overall, according to the Associated Press Week 11 standings. This is amazing – and plenty of motivation for fans to be excited – although savvy fans can only wonder what the ranking may be had they prevailed on the second Saturday in September at Pittsburgh.

Nonetheless, this is going to be an amazing year by any standards. An upcoming game at Rutgers will be the second road game in a row for the feisty squad that has put up an average of 39.9 points over the course of the last six games.

The offense has been unleashed by way of running back Saquan Berkeley and quarterback Trace McSorley. Penn State is a four-touchdown favorite in Las Vegas, meaning that they are expected to coast to victory in New Jersey. McSorley threw two interceptions last week, but an entirely vulnerable Scarlet Knights secondary might open up avenues for the sophomore to show off his strong arm and, at times, razor-sharp accuracy.

The “hostile” territory is less than 300 miles away, meaning that plenty of State College fans will be in attendance during an important game that could go a long way toward a major bowl game.

Rutgers has the 127th-ranked offense in the FBS, and the 94th-ranked defense. Simply put, the Nittany Lions should be able to roar as loud as they have any time this year throughout a Saturday evening underneath the stars in New Jersey.

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Lions Roar Late to Extend Winning Streak and Climb a Spot in Rankings


Penn State Nittany Lions fans have every right to be equally hopeful and fearful these days. The squad has put together an amazing string of victories after beginning the year 2-2, but anytime they are locked into a competitive game in the second half, blood pressures understandably rise given just how much is on the line.

The squad went into their matchup against the Hoosiers in Indiana having won six games in a row, but the score was tied at halftime and the Hoosiers took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.

In the final 15 minutes, PSU absolutely exploded, scoring 24 points and leaving town with a 45-31 victory. Despite the high score, it turned out to be a grind-it-out affair for the boys from Happy Valley. Heisman Trophy-contender Saquan Berkeley was held to just 60 yards on a workmanlike 33 carries, but his totals did include two important rushing touchdowns. Take away his 21-yard gain, and he actually ran for just 39 yards on 32 carries – a total that would be historically dismal were it not for the sizable gain.

Quarterback Trace McSorley passed for 332 yards on just 16 completions, but suffered his first multi-interception game this season. Coincidentally, both squads racked up exactly 20 first downs throughout an afternoon that featured plenty of offensive production. The ultimate story was the fact that the Hoosiers fumbled five times and lost every single one to the Nittany Lions.

These turnovers proved especially costly in the final frame, when Penn State pulled away and continued to give their fans hope that they can actually finish in the top half dozen teams in the nation if things go right over the last few weeks. They are ranked #9 in the most recent AP polls.

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Huge Bowl Game Awaits if Penn State beats Indiana and Runs the Board


The Penn State Nittany Lions are 7-2 after a 41-14 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at home. This pushes the win streak to five in a row, dating back to when they knocked off the then-undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers on the first Saturday in October.

There are but three games left this year, and victories over Indiana, Rutgers and Michigan State could put the Nittany Lions in a perfect position to have a major impact on the 2016 holiday bowl season.

If only they had not lost a heartbreaking three-point game at Pittsburgh in early September, Penn State might be banging the drum and making their case for being ranked in the top five.

But it is better to focus on reality than theoretical situations, and the reality is that the squad can completely re-galvanize a fan base that has been hungry for a winner and a perennial championship contender.

Head coach James Franklin has made all the right moves over the course of the last five Saturdays, but the team need not get ahead of themselves before they make a visit to Indiana to take on a sometimes dangerous Hoosiers squad.

Now ranked at #12 nationally, PSU has a strong offense, a stout defense and a very special special teams. By the numbers, this game seems to be more difficult for Penn State than many fans would imagine. The Nittany Lions have the 59th-ranked overall offensive nation and the 32nd-ranked overall defense.

Conversely, the Hoosiers have the 35th-overall ranked offense and the 51st-overall ranked defense. These numbers bode well for the squad from Indiana, and they have been putting up just short of 300 yards per game through the air.

This means that once again quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley will have to initiate substantial offense in order to neutralize any momentum that Indiana hopes to create with designs to upset a squad on a sizable winning streak against very quality opponents. Again, Penn State finds themselves 6 1/2 point favorites in Vegas, which boded very well for them against Ohio two weekends ago in Happy Valley.

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Nittany Lions Trounce Iowa Hawkeyes, Run Win Streak to 5 Games


Penn State rattled off their fifth consecutive impressive victory on Saturday evening with a 41-14 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Happy Valley. A numerical palindrome outcome is always fun, especially when your team is on the higher end of it.

Offensive leaders Trace McSorley and Saquon Berkeley gave all in attendance plenty of reasons to be cheerful throughout a dominating 60-minute performance that has catapulted the squad near the top 10 of the overall rankings. This is truly surprising given that they began the year 2-2, and were reeling after a 49-10 loss in Ann Arbor against the Michigan Wolverines on the final Saturday of September.

The uptick squad now stands on the doorstep of representing the Big 10 East if things go their way over the final few weeks. Barkley’s hoofprints were all over the field after he scored on a huge touchdown run in the first quarter and caught a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Iowa came into the game determined to stack the box and prevent the run, but the Nittany Lions offensive attack basically rendered their plan obsolete. Third-down efficiency was huge, as Penn State converted on 50% of their attempts and Iowa achieved the sticks just twice in 10 attempts.

Net yards were also incredibly lopsided, as Penn State racked up just 1 yard short of 600 on the day and Iowa ran 52 plays for a total of 234 yards.

Penn State now stands on the doorstep of putting themselves in major contention for not only the Big 10, but a major bowl game with upcoming winnable games on the road against Indiana and Rutgers, and a finale at home against Michigan State.

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Penn State versus Iowa Has Quickly Becoming Huge Conference Showdown


The Nittany Lions will return home to Happy Valley on the wings of a four-game winning streak after having trounced Purdue in Indiana. They face an Iowa Hawkeyes squad that is 5-3 on the year and extremely hungry for a victory that would keep their hopes of entering a respectable bowl game intact.

State has as much confidence as they have had in nearly a decade after knocking off Ohio State two Saturdays ago and scoring 62 points on the road this past weekend. The offense is clicking, and running back Saquon Berkeley is quickly running himself into Heisman Trophy contention. Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley is coming along far more quicker than former quarterback Christian Hackenberg did to this point in his career, and that has also bode well for a team that is clearly hitting their stride.

Iowa is always a gritty team that very rarely loses a game by more than a touchdown. They have coaching that knows how to matchup against opponents and neutralize their strengths while exploiting their weaknesses.

It is actually no secret that the Hawkeyes will be loading the box and hoping to shut down Barkley at the line of scrimmage, forcing McSorley into a situation where he will have to throw far more than his typical number of passes. McSorley has only thrown more than 27 passes once over the last six games after averaging 33 passes per game through the first two.

But all signs indicate that he is ready to do just that. The 6′ 0″ Virginia native can really put his name into the minds of NFL scouts with a solid performance against an always stout Iowa defense this weekend. The Nittany Lions are an eight point favorite in this game, a clear nod to just how far they have come over the course of the last month and a half.

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