Penn State Takes on Rutgers Saturday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 10 Penn State will conclude the 2019 regular season by hosting Rutgers for Senior Day Saturday in Beaver Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on BTN.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Penn State will honor 16 seniors who will be taking part in their final game in Beaver Stadium. The senior class has compiled a 40-11 record to become the first 40-win class since 2009. A win over Rutgers would tie the 1997 seniors’ 41 wins.

Over the last four seasons (2016-19), Penn State is 32-2 in games against unranked opponents, including a 30-1 mark since an overtime win over Minnesota early in 2016 and a 10-game winning streak dating back to last season.

A win over Rutgers would give Penn State its third undefeated home slate in the past four seasons (2016, 2017, 2019). Penn State has not gone undefeated in three out of four seasons in its Big Ten era, and last did so from 1972-75 (went 6-0 in 1972 and 1973 and 5-0 in 1975). The Nittany Lions enter the game with a 31-3 record (91.2%) in Beaver Stadium over the last five seasons for their best mark since going 27-1 (96.4%) from 1971-75. They also have wins in their last eight consecutive home games.

Penn State (14.8 ppg) ranks ninth nationally in scoring defense and boasts a stingy rushing defense allowing just 89.9 yards per game (4th FBS). Penn State has 36 sacks to average 3.27 sacks per game (11th in FBS), putting it on pace for its fifth consecutive season with 40 or more sacks. The Nittany Lions now lead the country with 19 forced fumbles after punching the ball loose four times at Ohio State. Lamont Wade’s three forced fumbles in that game tied a Big Ten record and are the most by an individual player in FBS this season.

Rutgers is 2-9 this season with wins over UMass and Liberty. The Scarlet Knights are averaging 263.1 yards per game on offense and are allowing an average of 442.7 yards per game.

At 0-8 in Big Ten play, the Scarlet Knights are seeking their first Big Ten win since winning three conference games in 2017.

Linebacker Tyshon Fogg ranks third in the Big Ten with 8.6 tackles per game. Aaron Young is among the top kickoff returners in the conference, averaging 21.2 yards per return to rank sixth. Running back Isaih Pacheco ranks ninth in the Big Ten with seven rushing touchdowns. Punter Aaron Korsak ranks third in the conference averaging 43.7 yards per punt.

Penn State is outscoring opponents 107-38 in the first quarter. The Nittany Lions only allowed three points in the opening stanza through the first eight games of the season. Penn State was the only FBS team to reach Week 7 without allowing a first-quarter point this season.

Micah Parsons was named a finalist for the Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s top linebacker.
Parsons is a finalist along with Zack Baun (Wisconsin), Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech), Isaiah Simmons (Clemson), Evan Weaver (Cal) and Logan Wilson (Wyoming).

Parsons will be vying to become the first Nittany Lion to earn the honor since Paul Posluszny in 2005. LaVar Arrington also won the award in 1999, and five have previously been named finalists: Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007).

Penn State’s FBS opponents’ combined .615 winning percentage is the highest among current FBS two-loss teams and ninth among Power Five teams.

At Ohio State, Penn State played its fifth AP Top 25 team in its last six games, marking the Nittany Lions’ most difficult stretch since the AP Poll debuted in 1936.

Penn State played three consecutive AP Top 25 teams in a single regular season for the first time since 2017 and sixth time (1960, 1993, 1997, 2003, 2017, 2019) since the AP Poll began in 1936.

Penn State played at least five AP Top 25 teams in a single regular season for the first time since 2003 and fifth time ever (1955, 1982, 1999, 2003, 2019).

Penn State defeated ranked opponents in back-to-back games (No. 17 Iowa, 17-12; No. 16 Michigan, 28-21) for the first time since 2005 (No. 18 Minnesota, 44-14; No. 6 Ohio State, 17-10) in consecutive weeks.

At Iowa, Penn State defeated a ranked opponent in a true road game for the first time since a 31-24 victory at No. 14 Wisconsin in 2013.

Penn State leads FBS with 19 forced fumbles this season, which ranks as the third most in a season in Penn State history and the most since forcing 20 fumbles in 2015. The team record of 25 was set in 1968.

Penn State’s 12 fumble recoveries this season rank sixth in FBS and second in the Big Ten.

S Lamont Wade tied a Big Ten record with three forced fumbles at Ohio State. Wade’s three forced fumbles are the most by an FBS player this season. Wade is the fifth player in Big Ten history to have three forced fumbles in a game, joining Michigan’s Jerry Hartman (vs. Indiana, 10/21/1967), Ohio State’s Antoine Winfield (at Pittsburgh, 9/23/1995), Iowa’s Bob Sanders (vs. Minnesota, 11/15/2003) and Northwestern’s Ifeadi Odenigbo (vs. Western Illinois, 9/20/2014). Wade is the third player to have three forced fumbles in a Big Ten game. Wade is the sixth player in FBS since 2000 to have three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in a game. The last occurrence was Kansas State’s Jayd Kirby against Kansas in 2017. Wade is the second Big Ten player since 2000 to have three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in a game. The last occurrence was Northwestern’s Ifeadi Odenigbo vs. Western Illinois in 2014.

In the Ohio State game, Wade factored in on all four Buckeye fumbles, as he made his first career fumble recovery on a fumble forced by LB Micah Parsons.

Wade is one of three Nittany Lions with three forced fumbles this season, joining freshman CBs Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson.

Ellis and Wade are tied for 10th in FBS and fourth in the Big Ten with three forced fumbles each this season.
Fifteen Nittany Lions on 16 occasions have forced as many as three fumbles in a season since 2000.
Parsons has forced a fumble in each of the last two weeks (Indiana, Ohio State).

Penn State is 14th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 14.8 points per game. Penn State’s 163 points allowed in the first 11 games is its fewest since allowing 143 points in the first 11 of 2011. Penn State has held 11 of its last 15 opponents to 21 points or less, and 10 of those to 13 points or less.

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