State College, Pa. — Saquon Barkley ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns and Penn State beat Rutgers 28-3 in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams on Saturday night.
Akeel Lynch added 120 yards rushing on 10 carries with a touchdown, and DeAndre Thompkins also ran for a score for Penn State (2-1, 1-0).
“I think Saquon Barkley has brought something to our offense. I think him and Akeel are a nice one-two punch right now,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.
Thompkins scored on a sweep from 2 yards out. Barkley ran for a 15-yard touchdown, and Lynch scored on a 75-yard run to give the Nittany Lions a 21-0 halftime lead. Barkley, a freshman who was once committed to Rutgers, added a 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Barkley averaged just over 9 yards on 21 carries.
Kyle Federico kicked a 34-yard field goal for Rutgers in the fourth quarter. Chris Laviano was 27 for 42 for 251 yards passing with two interceptions for the Scarlet Knights (1-2, 0-1).
Thompkins’ scoring run capped an 80-yard drive in the second quarter. Barkley took advantage of perfect inside blocking and finished off a 90-yard drive with his first touchdown two possessions later.
“We’ve had two weeks in a row where we haven’t given up a sack. We’re able to run the ball,” Franklin said.
When Barkley wasn’t bursting through holes, Lynch was. The junior ran untouched into the end zone late in the first half.
Lynch said he’d never seen a hole that big and acknowledged he might not see another one. But Penn State’s offensive linemen — often beleaguered after allowing 44 sacks last season and 10 in the season opener to Temple — would say otherwise.
Playing without starting left tackle Andrew Nelson, Penn State’s front five kept pass rushers off of Christian Hackenberg for the second straight week, and helped Penn State gain 330 yards rushing.
Hackenberg was 10 of 19 for 141 yards passing, and threw a late interception.
Rutgers struggled to move the ball all night. The Scarlet Knights managed just 115 yards to Penn State’s 311 in the first half, and added 179 more the rest of the way.
Penn State cornerback Grant Haley intercepted Laviano’s final pass of the first half, and freshman John Reid picked off Laviano off early in the third quarter after Rutgers had crossed midfield.