Rutgers quarterback Rusty Hochberg fumbled out of the end zone in the third quarter for a safety and Penn State's Nick Gancitano kicked a 36-yard field goal in the final period, enabling the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions to defeat visiting Rutgers, 15-12, in the opener for both teams.

Coach Joe Paterno wasn't pleased with Penn State's passing (seven of 20 for 47 yards). "I think our problem was a combination of timing, good Rutgers defense, and I think (Lions quarterback Doug) Strang tried to overcompensate . . . ," Paterno said.

Penn State took the lead with 10:17 to play in the first quarter when D.J. Dozier ran 43 yards for a touchdown. Runs of 12 and 10 yards by Tim Manoa and a nine-yard scramble by Strang set up Gancitano's 20-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the period.

In the second quarter, Rutgers drove to the Penn State 24. Tom Angstadt's 40-yard field goal made it 10-3 with 12:54 left in the half.

Later in the half, Steve Twanley intercepted a pass from Strang and returned it 27 yards to the Rutgers' 35. After a roughing the passer penalty, Hochberg threw a 43 yards to Boris Pendergrass at the Penn State seven. On third down, Hochberg passed three yards to Dwayne Hooper in the end zone, and Angstadt's conversion tied the game at 10 with 5:50 left in the half.

Penn State took an intentional safety with seven seconds left in the game.

Senior Andrew Baker of Rutgers caught three passes for 20 yards and broke the school career passing yardage record. Baker now has 1,705 yards, topping the 1,702 gained by Tim O'Dell from 1977 through 1980.