Penn State has opened 28-point favorite over Rutgers this weekend as the Nittany Lions look to hit the reset button against the Scarlet Knights to start off the final three game of the regular season.
While Penn State certainly can't take anything for granted, the Nittany Lions have outscored Rutgers 80-13 in the three meetings since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten. The 2016 meeting between the two teams ending to the tune of a 39-0 thumping in a cold and rainy Piscataway.
But don't tell Penn State coach James Franklin what the spread is.
“We’re going to get back to what got us here, which is focusing on being 1-0 and not worrying about anything else,” Franklin said following Penn State's 27-24 loss to Michigan State on Saturday. “I’m going to make sure everyone in our building is crystal clear on that.”
For Penn State, the Nittany Lions still have plenty to play for. Penn State ought to be the favorites in its final three games and would have chance to put together back-to-back 10 or better win seasons for the first time since 2008 and 2009. It would also be just the third time Penn State had put together a similar stretch since joining the Big Ten following 10 and 12 win seasons in 1993 and 1994.
“The way we’ll approach these final three games is with the mentality that coach Franklin sets for this program. The mindset is 1-0 and not worry about outside factors,” Running back Saquon Barkley added. “We’ve gotta focus on ourselves and get back to our standard, get back to our mentality.”
Certainly Penn State can't get ahead of itself heading into the weekend, especially with Rutgers playing competitive football under Chis Ash, even so, if the Nittany Lions were looking for a chance to get back on the right side of the win column, the Scarlet Knights are showing up at the right time.