4 reasons Penn State could actually lose to Rutgers on Saturday

Penn State has to pick themselves up after tough defeat once again.

It’s a tough position to be in for the Nittany Lions who came into this season thinking that they had a real shot at competing for the Big Ten championship and making the College Football Playoff.

But after another horrendous game against a top tier opponent, those dreams are gone and they have two games left in the regular season that don’t feel important.

That’s a dangerous mindset to be in against two teams who would love nothing more than to upset Penn State this year.

Rutgers could be that team if the Nittany Lions aren’t careful and here is five reasons how that could happen.


Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s human to come out of another disappointment and not be completely locked in or motivated. At least when Penn State lost to Ohio State they still had the Michigan game on their schedule.

Now, the season feels over despite two games remaining. If they show up with that attitude, Rutgers will be able to push them all over the field because they’re showing up to win this game.

Offensive Turmoil

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

How will the new playcalling look?

That’s the question that Penn State fans are wondering after the firing of Mike Yurcich following the loss against Michigan. With two co-offensive coordinators operating for the remainder of the year, there are plenty of questions swirling.

Who calls the plays? Who has final say? Is James Franklin going to be heavily involved?

That’s a lot of unknown for a team coming off a difficult loss.

Can't Stop the Run

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

If Penn State can’t stop what Rutgers wants to do on the ground, then it’s going to be a long day. Their entire offensive success comes from their ability to run the ball and they will not go away from it like other teams on the schedule have.

This is big time gut check for the Nittany Lions defense who have been much improved in stopping rushing attacks this season. If they don’t do that on Saturday they could be on upset alert.

No Energy in Beaver Stadium

Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The fans were ready to roll for Michigan last Saturday, but after another disappointing loss, the interest in the season might not be as high. Tickets are shockingly cheap for a Penn State home game and there are some indicators that the raucous student section might be more empty than past games.

Flat energy in the stands could result in flat energy on the field. If that’s the case then Rutgers could have an opportunity to win the game.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire