The dynamic running back would go on to score another touchdown on the ground. This time a 36-yard rush that would give the Nittany Lions a 21-3 lead.
However, this would be all the damage Barkley would do on the day as the Ohio State defense locked in and contained Barkley for the rest of the day.
Barkley would only go on to rush for 44 yards on 21 carries with a measly 2.1 average. The entire Penn State rushing attack was held to 91 yards on the day despite the hot start from Barkley.
Despite the great defensive effort in stopping the run by the Buckeyes, things could be different in 2018.
Enter the No. 1 overall running back recruit in the class of 2016, Miles Sanders.
Although not as big of a name as Barkley, Sanders has excelled this season replacing the legendary running back.
Sanders is a better down-hill runner than Barkely was. Essentially, Barkley was lightning and Sanders is thunder.
In fact, last Friday, Sanders had his first breakout performance against Illinois going for 200 yards and three touchdowns on the day.
Believe it or not, Sanders has been having one of the best seasons by a running back from a Power 5 school. He ranks third in rushing among all Power 5 running backs behind Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Kentucky’s Benny Snell.
On the year, Sanders has rushed for 495 yards and five touchdowns. He also carries a flashy 7.0 yards per carry average.
The main point here is that Sanders is very talented and not that much of a drop off from Barkley. Furthermore, the running style of Sanders may be better for this matchup as he runs straight down-hill and usually falls forward, compared to Barkley who was known for dancing around in the backfield at time in college.
The Ohio State defense has been susceptible to big play’s in the running game this season.
With the news that Nick Bosa will officially miss the Penn State game due to his injury sustained against TCU, it leaves the Ohio State defense without their best run stopper in the biggest game of the year to date.
If Penn State keeps pounding the rock with Sanders, expect him to break at least one for a touchdown.
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