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Monday Notebook: Rutgers Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football has shifted its focus toward Rutgers, set to return home to Beaver Stadium to host the Scarlet Knights in a noon matchup on homecoming.

Ball Hawk
Cornerback Amani Oruwariye grabbed his fourth interception of the season in the fourth quarter at Michigan State. Having recorded four of Penn State's 10 takeaways this year, Oruwariye enters the week ranked first in the Big Ten and second in FBS averaging 0.6 interceptions per game. 

Quoting Coach Ash
At his weekly press conference this afternoon, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash noted the Scarlet Knights would face a talented football team in the Nittany Lions. He was also asked about running back Saquon Barkley, specifically in regard to Ohio State's Urban Meyer naming him the best all-purpose back the Buckeyes have faced in his career.

"He's very good, there's no doubt about it," Ash said. "Saquon Barkley is as good as there is. He can do it all. He can run the ball, he can catch the ball out of the back field, he can line up as a wide receiver, he's very strong, tremendous balance - just unbelievable change of direction. The way he can stop and restart and make you miss in the open field is as good as there is. He's outstanding and you never want to say a particular player is as good as you've ever seen, but I'd say he probably is."

Coming off a Career Day
Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki registered a career day at Michigan State, logging eight catches and 89 receiving yards for a career-high effort. One of quarterback Trace McSorley's top targets, Gesicki enters Saturday's matchup with at least one catch in the last 23 consecutive games.

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Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann made specific note of the matchup problem Gesicki creates with his size and length.

"He's got such a big catch radius," Niemann said. "You see them throwing footballs up in the air to the guy and he just goes and he out-jumps people. It's like going after a rebound almost. You have to mix coverages, you can't just sit in one thing. You have to try to mix your matchups as best as you can and some of that's going to be dependent on the down and distance."

Saluting Servicemembers
Penn State will once again honor the commitment and sacrifices of veterans and their families hosing its Seats for Servicemembers program in its sixth year Saturday. The Nittany Lions offers no cost tickets to active and retired servicemembers on a first come first serve basis earlier this summer. Penn State will also host a free pregame tailgate at the Bryce Jordan Center as part of Penn State's Military Appreciation Week.

On Homecoming ...
Saturday also marks Penn State's annual homecoming game. Penn State owns a 70-22-5 all-time record on homecoming, having won five of its last six games in front of the homecoming crowd. Last year, the Nittany Lions defeated Maryland, 38-14, set to meet the Scarlet Knights for the third time on homecoming.

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