On a windy Saturday night at High Point Solutions Stadium, the No. 8 Nittany Lions hold a 9-0 halftime lead over Rutgers.
Penn State's start was nearly disastrous: freshman running back and kick returner Miles Sanders dropped the opening kickoff, the ball bounced off his leg, and Rutgers recovered on the Nittany Lion 19-yard line.
Sanders could breath a sigh of relief, though, as the Nittany Lion defense bailed him out. Penn State pushed Rutgers back eight yards, forced a 43-yard field goal attempt, and Scarlet Knights placekicker David Bonagura missed.
Both sides traded three-and-outs before the Nittany Lions mounted a scoring series. An 11-play, 46-yard drive, highlighted by an 18-yard Saquon Barkley run up the middle through Rutgers' defense, finished with a 31-yard field goal drained by redshirt junior placekicker Tyler Davis.
Penn State led 3-0 with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
The Nittany Lions tacked on another field goal on their next drive. Penn State, after forcing another quick Rutgers series, drove deep into Scarlet Knight territory. However, the Nittany Lions came up short on a 3rd-and-5.
Davis sunk the 34-yard field goal attempt despite dealing with crazy winds — the officials had to stop play twice because the Allstate net was flying through the goalposts. The kick gave Penn State a 6-0 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Nittany Lions added a third field goal later in the second quarter. Penn State, following a turnover on downs at Rutgers' 2-yard line, generated a Scarlet Knight three-and-out. Rutgers, kicking into heavy wind, managed only a 21-yard punt, putting the Nittany Lions on the Scarlet Knight 29.
While Barkley was getting looked at on the sideline by trainers — he'd later return — Sanders let a touchdown pass slip right through his hands, and McSorley followed that up by nearly throwing a pick.
The Nittany Lion offense stalled, giving Davis a shot at a 40-yard field goal with the wind behind him. He connected, pushing Penn State's lead to 9-0 with 1:41 left in the first half.
The Nittany Lions totaled 216 offensive yards, while the defense held Rutgers to just 66.
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