Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 13, 2018 at 9:20 pm.

Punchless Rutgers next for Penn State

There’s usually plenty of animosity traded between Penn State and Rutgers fans on social media and online message boards in the days leading up to a game between the two regional rivals.

On the field? All the real shots have come from the Nittany Lions.

The two programs will renew their one-sided series that’s seen the Nittany Lions win 26 of 28 meetings — including the last three by an average of 31 points — when No. 14 Penn State (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) travels to face Rutgers (1-9, 0-6) on Saturday.

“They’ve got a good-looking team,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.

That could be the nicest thing said on either side all week. The truth is, Rutgers has put up some bad-looking results.

The Scarlet Knights are winless in their last nine games and will try to defend Stadium with a defense that’s allowing 34 points per weekend. Meanwhile, Rutgers’ offense isn’t doing much to help.

The Scarlet Knights are sitting in last place in the country with 14.5 points per game and have been held to a touchdown or less three times.

The numbers don’t mean Penn State players are taking this as an easy win. They’re wary of Raheem Blackshear who leads the Scarlet Knights in rushing and receiving with 810 total yards and four touchdowns.

“I think our focus is to just try to keep playing hard every week,” guard Steven Gonzalez said. “We’ve got to treat them like any other opponent and they’re just as tough and physical as the other teams and they’re going to play hard.”