Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saquon Barkley wows nation en route to Penn State record 358 all-purpose yards

By John McGonical
September 24, 2017

Image result for saquon barkley september 23 2017

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs during the third quarter at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 23, 2017. Joe Hermitt |

Saquon Barkley didn’t score the game-ending touchdown, the one that kept Penn State’s undefeated season alive. But, boy oh boy, he did nearly everything else.
Barkley has wowed before. He’s boggled the mind, left jaws on the floor and dropped defenders to their knees. Literally. That’s not new.
But Barkley has never put together a performance quite like Saturday night. In Penn State’s tight 21-19 win against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, Barkley broke down the Hawkeyes with 358 all-purpose yards — a new single-game program record.
In a showcase that only furthers his Heisman Trophy campaign, Barkley racked up 211 rushing yards on 28 carries (7.54 yards per carry), 94 receiving yards on 12 catches and 53 kickoff return yards. The total broke Curt Warner’s record of 341 yards, which has stood on the books for 36 years.
"Saquon’s a dog. That’s simply what it is,” Penn State safety Marcus Allen said, nodding his head. “Saquon’s a dog, and dogs do dog things.”
“I can’t take credit for the performance I had today. It’s an 11-man sport,” Barkley said, when asked where this showing ranked for him personally. “You can’t do it by yourself.”
But humility aside, Barkley put the offense on his back.
The elusive back had 10 offensive plays of 10 yards or more (six rushing, four receiving). He scored Penn State’s first touchdown of the night, an eight-yard run in which he dove and reached the ball out over the pylon, putting Penn State up 15-7 late in the third quarter. Barkley accounted for 12 of Penn State’s first downs, including a critical one in the game’s final drive.
And, of course, the dizzying junior dazzled with yet another highlight reel moment: a 44-yard run that stupefied one of the best defensive players in college football. Before he punched in that eight-yard score, Barkley jump-started Penn State’s first touchdown drive by looping around the Iowa defense for an 11-yard gain. Then he stopped along the Penn State sideline still in-bounds and allowed Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell to dive right past him. From there, he put the key in the ignition and raced for 33 more yards deep into Hawkeye territory.
“I’m going to have to watch that 17 more times to know what he did to get out of it,” Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley said of the 44-yard gain, in which Barkley was pinned by four Iowa defenders, including Jewell, on the sideline. “But he somehow got out of it. During that play, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
When asked about Barkley’s performance as a whole, McSorley said it was just “unreal.”
“I don’t know what his numbers were,” the quarterback added.

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