24 Days Until the Big Ten

Rutgers University sits 24 days away from Big Ten membership, and ScarletReport.com is here to count down the days in style. A new conference means a significantly different schedule. Rutgers faces new opponents in the conference, but there are plenty of storylines with each opponent. We'll look at all of them, starting with Penn State to open Big Ten play.

Rutgers plays eight games within the conference, and that starts with Penn State at High Point Solutions Stadium. It's the game of the year for most Rutgers fans, and we look a little more at the storylines inside.

2014 matchup -- Sept. 13 at Rutgers. Kickoff at 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Series: -- Penn State leads the all-time series 23-2.

Last Meeting: -- No. 6 Penn State beat Rutgers 59-34 on Sept. 13, 1995. A late PSU touchdown led to a memorable altercation between Joe Paterno and Rutgers coach Doug Graber.


Storylines

There is more of a rivalry feel on the Rutgers side of the border, but there is no doubt that this will be a game filled with bad blood, passionate fans and a Rutgers roster looking to make a statement. Everyone from Julie Hermann to Kyle Flood to the players have had comments about Penn State and the significance of making a statement in this game.

Hermann and Flood have taken it far enough as to avoid the name "Penn State" in speeches at fan events. Players including Darius Hamilton, Carlton Agudosi and Myles Nash have been vocal about wanting to get on the field to face Penn State.

On Penn State's side, new head coach James Franklin's recruiting success has not made him popular with other fan bases. Add in his comments about Rutgers and Maryland saying you, "might as well shut them down," and the bulletin boards are full already.

In recruiting, Franklins first two classes are filled with familiar names. Highlighted by Rutgers de-commit Saeed Blacknall, Penn State has many familiar names looking to take the field against the Scarlet Knights as true freshmen. The list includes tight end Mike Gesicki, defensive tackle Antoine White and receiver Chris Godwin.

Penn State has three New Jersey commitments in its 2015 class (Brandon Wimbush, Steven Gonzalez and Juwan Johnson) and Rutgers has three Pennsylvania commits (Jonah Jackson, Charles Snorweah and Zach Venesky).

It will be an interesting week for linemen J.J. Denman, Sebastian Joseph and Chris Muller. All three picked Rutgers (or stuck with them) over Penn State since Flood took over. Guard Jamil Pollard went so far as to sign with Penn State before transferring to Rutgers to be close to home in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Do not be surprised if the 1995 game comes up on game week. Paterno and the now-disgraced Mike McQueary ran up the score on the Scarlet Knights to the point where there was an on-field confrontation between Paterno and Graber.

Quarterback Ray Lucas and tight end Marco Battaglia were Rutgers captains, and now work for the program as a color analyst and fundraiser respectively.


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