STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Trace McSorley passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 14 Penn State drubbed Rutgers, 35-6, Saturday afternoon.
With the Scarlet Knights focusing their defensive attention on running back Saquon Barkley, McSorley hit 16 of 21 passes for 214 yards, and ran 13 times for 44 yards, as the Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak.
His TD passes covered 22 yards to DaeSean Hamilton in the second quarter and 16 yards to Mike Gesicki in the fourth. His scoring run was a 20-yarder.
Barkley, who managed a season-low 35 yards on 14 carries, did run for two short TDs in the third quarter.
Andrew Harte kicked two field goals for Rutgers (4-6, 3-4), which lost its 11th straight to the Nittany Lions.
• Rutgers entered the game with the Big Ten’s second-worst rushing defense, allowing 179.6 yards a game. The Knights nonetheless bottled up Barkley — especially in the first half, when he managed minus-3 yards on five attempts.
• PSU trailed 3-0 after a quarter, but McSorley keyed second-quarter touchdown drives of 65 and 74 yards. He capped the first with his TD run and the second with the scoring strike to Hamilton.
• Barkley’s two scoring runs, covering one and four yards, came in the third quarter that saw the Lions outgain the Knights 88-9 while extending their lead to 28-6. His first TD run came two snaps after a gadget play. On 3rd-and-9 from the Rutgers 15, McSorley hit Hamilton with a short pass, and he pitched to Barkley, who hurdled a tackler while advancing to the 1.
• Scarlet Knights kicker Justin Davidovicz hit the opening kickoff short and high, and when no one on Penn State’s return team handled the ball it was recovered by RU’s Lawrence Stevens at the 21. Four plays later Andrew Harte hit a 33-yard field goal, giving the Knights their first lead over Penn State since 2014.
• Knights quarterback Gio Rescigno created problems with his legs, notably on a 15-play, 57-yard field goal march in the second quarter. Rescigno converted a 4th-and-1 from the Rutgers 44 with a three-yard sneak, and later scurried about the pocket before completing a 12-yard pass to Mohamed Jabbie on 3rd-and-9. Harte later kicked a 25-yard field goal.
• The game was marked by numerous special-teams misadventures. Penn State’s Tyler Davis knocked two kickoffs out of bounds, and Davidovicz did so once, setting up a PSU touchdown drive. RU’s Janarion Grant also fumbled the second-half kickoff — on a hit by Davis, no less — but the Lions were unable to capitalize. Finally, PSU cornerback Christian Campbell recovered an onside kick in the third quarter but was offsides.