How Michigan State plans to defend Heisman Trophy front-runner Saquon Barkley

Aubrey Yates
November 3, 2017

While those rankings aren't a bother to the Nittany Lions, FOX Sports lead college football analyst Joel Klatt wants to know where the love is for the Big Ten. Penn State's offense revolves around the talented junior duo of QB Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley. Oklahoma has to face Oklahoma State on the road and TCU and West Virginia at home.Ohio State has games at Iowa and Michigan and a home game against Michigan State. "Laterally very quick, cutback runner, spin runner". He's a great player.

The last time Michigan State fumbled 20 times in a whole season was in 2012, and the Spartans have already surpassed that with several games remaining. "Then once they get done talking I'll probably plant a few messages with them - just with the intensity and the opportunities, those types of things". Barkley lead the nation in all-purpose yards per game at 206.3 per game.

Michigan State, meanwhile, needs to find a run game of its own. And for as good as McSorley is, he's that much better when Barkley is running strong. MSU and PSU are both tied for second in the Big Ten East Division standings at 4-1. The Spartans (6-2) had their four-game winning streak snapped in heartbreaking fashion last Saturday, falling at Northwestern in triple overtime, 39-31. Running back Justin Jackson had 17 carries for just 41 yards but was slippery in the open field and finished with seven receptions for 51 yards.

"In my mind, that's really their only hope at this point", Herbstreit said.

"I think we understand who he is and what he represents, how hard it is to defend him and everything like that. They run wheel routes down the field, they'll run tailback chutes down the middle of the field".

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The Penn State running back set the tone early last week in Columbus with his second game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown of the season and a 36-yard touchdown run later in the first half as Penn State was rolling early.

Penn State fans can't understand why the Nittany Lions fell five spots in the AP rankings and were also seventh in the CFP rankings after a one-point loss at Ohio State, a team that was favored by a touchdown.Alabama fans, spoiled as they may be, don't get why Georgia was ranked No. 1 ahead of their beloved Crimson Tide.Wisconsin and Miami fans are asking, "Why is our unbeaten team ranked behind teams with one loss?"And the Notre Dame haters, of which there are many, are appalled that the Irish are ranked No. 3.Before any of them pop a blood vessel, remember there are five weeks of games left to be played, four in the regular season and one with conference championship games". But McSorley shredded Michigan State through the air, passing for 376 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-12 Penn State romp.

"The best teams in the country have issues that they need to work on and get better, and we're one of them", Franklin said. They're going to get him the ball when they want. "The selection committee has talked about how impressed we've been with them, especially at the running back and the quarterback position". For Penn State, after losing a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Buckeyes last week, there is no margin for error if Ohio State continues to win.

It will also be interesting to see how Barkley responds, as he was held to just 14 yards on 12 carries a year ago in a 45-12 victory for Penn State over Michigan State.

"Hocutt also said, "(We're) very well aware of how that (Ohio State) game transpired, how both teams competed, and that will continue to be a component of their resume as the season moves along".

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