STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Kaytron Allen is a man of few words. Most of his teammates consider him one of the shyest players on Penn State’s roster.
When he pulls on his football helmet, however, Allen’s personality emerges.
Allen, all smiles and full of trash talk, bruised his way for two touchdowns and helped steady Penn State’s struggling offense after starting quarterback Drew Allar left with an apparent injury in No. 12 Penn State’s 27-6 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.
“I try to always fall forward, do the little things, keep my feet moving, get yards, get first downs, keep staying on the field,” Allen said. “Any time I can do that, I’m going to do that for my team.”
Alex Felkins kicked a pair of field goals and backup quarterback Beau Pribula added a rushing score in Penn State’s 17th-straight win over Rutgers.
Allen finished a 15-play, scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and added another short, punishing scoring run up the middle early in the fourth to seal Penn State’s win. The sophomore back, affectionately dubbed “Fatman” by his teammates, finished with 69 of the Nittany Lions’ 234 rushing yards.
Fellow running back Nick Singleton chipped in 61 yards on 11 carries.
“I think we did a really good job having a plan and our backs ran extremely hard,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.
Jai Patel booted a pair of first-half field goals, including a 35-yarder to cap Rutgers’ opening possession, but Penn State’s defense shut out the Scarlet Knights (6-5, 3-5 Big Ten) the rest of the way.
The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2) forced three turnovers including a strip sack and fumble recovery by Chop Robinson late in the third quarter that helped set up Allen’s second touchdown run.
“When I hit him, I saw the shadow of the ball in the air,” Robinson said. “That’s when I saw it bounce right in front of my face when it hit the ground, and I jumped on top of it.”
Allar was hurt early in the second half after taking a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit from Rutgers defensive back Flip Dixon. He threw a high incomplete pass to the sideline on the next play, then exited in obvious pain.
Allar completed 6 of 13 passes for 79 yards and was seen flexing his right arm and shoulder on the sideline. He didn’t return.
Afterward, Franklin didn’t have an update on his starting quarterback.
“I don’t see this being significant,” Franklin said. “But we’ll see.”
Pribula gave Penn State’s running game even more legs with Allar on the sideline.
The dual-threat backup added 71 yards on eight carries, including a 39-yard scamper on his first rush.
Gavin Wimsatt completed 10 of 16 passes for 130 yards. He was intercepted by safety Kevin Winston on the Scarlet Knights’ penultimate possession.
“A lot of guys in that locker room that are hurting pretty bad, some physically but all of them emotionally,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “Understand, they put so much into it and just not quite ready to close those kind of games out. We will be, but it wasn’t today.”
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights played tough but squandered too many chances to take control of the game early. Their three turnovers resulted in 17 points for Penn State.
Penn State: A week after offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was fired, the Nittany Lions still had trouble getting into a rhythm on offense. Allen’s tough running helped them move the chains when they needed to and Pribula gave Penn State a boost with his legs.
READY TO GO
Pribula admitted it’s been tough to prepare to play every week only to watch. He’s been involved here and there in a two-quarterback package, and Franklin said Penn State planned to use both him and Allar on Saturday no matter what.
“I’m always ready to go in the game no matter what,” Pribula said. “I’m always trying to stay warmed-up on the sideline, ready to go.”
The Scarlet Knights still haven’t scored a touchdown at Beaver Stadium since joining the Big Ten in 2014. They were close on Saturday before penalties doomed them.
A holding call on their first possession backed them up from Penn State’s 1-yard-line to the 17 where they kicked a field goal two plays later. They were able to drive down to Penn State’s 7-yard-line on their final possession of the first half, but another holding flag reset them at the 17 again where they settled for another kick from Patel three plays later.
Rutgers: Hosts Maryland on Saturday.
Penn State: Visits Michigan State on Friday.
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