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Penn State Football: Barkley Impressive Even In Loss

by on September 11, 2016 12:00 PM

You don't want to say that you feel badly for Saquon Barkley. He clearly loves his teammates and he's clearly having a good time being better at football than everyone else.

But five touchdowns in a loss, that's a tough way to go. If anything it's the potential microcosm of what his career at Penn State has been so far, a player head and shoulders better than his teammates seeing personal success but not much more than that. For someone who says he would give back all of his touchdowns if it meant winning, he hasn't gotten to do a whole lot of the winning so far.

How good was Barkley's afternoon though? Five touchdowns seems self-explanatory, but here is a little context.

- Barkley’s 30 points are tied for fourth place in Penn State history (fifth occasion). The last Nittany Lion with 30 points was Ki-Jana Carter vs. Michigan State in 1994.

- Barkley’s 30 points are the most by a Big Ten player since Melvin Gordon had 30 against Bowling Green in 2014.

- Barkley’s four rushing touchdowns are the most by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson had four vs. Michigan State in 2002.

- With 85 rushing yards, Barkley moved into 33rd place on Penn State’s career rushing chart, passing Leroy Thompson (1987-90; 1,215) and Steve Smith (1983-86; 1,246). Barkley has 1,266 career rushing yards.

So it was a bit of history on Saturday as you might have expected. On the year Barkley is just shy of 80-yards ahead of his 2015 rushing total, with six touchdowns already this season he's also just two short of matching his 2015 mark of eight. Assuming he can stay healthy it seems safe to assume that Penn State's marquee player will go above and beyond the kind of numbers he had his freshman year, which if nothing else is going to be fun to watch, even if it means Penn State fans will have to put up with a handful of losses along the way.

“You never wanna be down, but we know if we’re down, there’s always a fight,” Barkley said following the game. “We showed that we have that dog in us, so we’ve just gotta improve on that and become a better offense.”

And that's something that won't go on the stat sheet, that after the loss Barkley took the podium and answered questions to a crowded room with poise and thought. It's a little thing that most fans never see and many more don't even care about, but it's a testament to the kind of player and person Penn State has in Barkley. Someone as good off the field as he is on it.

And he's very, very good on the field.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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