Penn State

Lions pulverize Scarlet Knights


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James Franklin leads the Lions out of the tunnel Saturday night. -- GETTY

PISCATAWAY, NJ -- The rows of bleachers behind the Rutgers bench were empty and the student section behind the goal post was vacant too. As hail pounded what was left of the crowd at High Point Solutions Stadium the Nittany Lions still had an entire 4th quarter to play.

It wasn't always pretty for the Lions, as red-zone struggles gave way to field goals and running back Saquon Barkley exited in the 3rd quarter after what looked like taking a knee to the head, but against an offense as lifeless as Rutgers' the Lions rolled the Scarlet Knights, 39-0. This was the fourth time this season Rutgers was shutout in Big Ten play and the second time in as many weeks.

"You guys are awesome," James Franklin shouted at the contingent of soaked Penn State fans who gathered in the stands behind the team's bench as the final minutes ticked off the clock.

Penn State (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten), ranked No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings and No. 9 in the AP Poll, won their seventh straight game as Franklin's team kept its hopes alive of a potential trip to the Big Ten title game should they win next week's regular season finale against Michigan State and have Ohio State beat Michigan.

Penn State out gained the Rutgers offense with 549 total yards to the Scarlet Knights' 87 and the Lions held Rutgers to just five first downs. Even with just a nine-point deficit at the half it was a game Rutgers never really was in and by the 3rd quarter fans were filing out of the stadium.

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