Saquon Barkley Goes for 221 All-Purpose Yards, 2 Total TDs vs. Indiana

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Penn State superstar running back Saquon Barkley took the opening kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown en route to 221 all-purpose yards in the Nittany Lions’ 45-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

The Heisman Trophy contender racked up 56 yards on 20 carries and 51 yards on four catches in the blowout win. He also threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth quarter on a trick play.

His electrifying start on special teams was highlighted by the Big Ten Network:

Barkley developed into one of the top offensive playmakers in the nation over the past two years. Returning kicks has been a work in progress, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise a player with so much game-breaking speed and agility is now making an impact in the game’s third phase.

On Friday, Andrew Rubin of the Daily Collegian passed along comments from the running back about his progress, which was on full display right away Saturday.

“So far throughout the year I am getting better and better every single day, every single practice at seeing the field,” Barkley said. “Obviously it is very different from running back. I’m just going to have to continue to trust the system.”

Otherwise the Hoosiers defense did a terrific job of keeping him in check. They frequently stacked the box to eliminate the running lanes and put the pressure on Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley to beat them over the top.

Barkley didn’t have a run longer than eight yards in the contest. In most cases he was met by multiple defenders right near the line of scrimmage and had to fight just to gain a couple of yards a pop.

That said, even in games where the 20-year-old New York City native doesn’t post monster offensive numbers he tends to do a couple of things that have a “wow factor.”

Penn State On BTN spotlighted one of those moments—a first-quarter catch-and-run:

The other was his unexpected touchdown pass, as highlighted by the Big Ten Network:

Ultimately, the performance probably won’t have a major impact on his Heisman candidacy. While his overall numbers were down from last week’s 211-yard rushing day against Iowa, his kickoff return and passing TDs are the type of plays that can help build a wide-ranging Heisman case at season’s end.

Barkley and the Nittany Lions return to action next Saturday when they travel to face Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.

Sports

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

September 30, 2017 at 04:36PM

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