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Scouting Saquon Barkley vs. Iowa: He's better than Zeke Elliott

26 September 2017

Akrum Wadley gives Iowa its own playmaking back, and the Hawkeyes look like a real threat to beat any Big Ten team when playing their best - especially if their best comes under the lights in Iowa City. "This is what we do".

To a degree, this is what the Nittany Lions do: Dating back to their improbable 2016 run, they come back late in games.

Penn State 15, Iowa 7: The Hawkeyes were driving before Wadley fumbled, and Grant Haley recovered for PSU. The Nittany Lions scored two straight to tie the set at 24-24, but they served long for NU's third set point. Outscoring opponents 141-14, those results were never in doubt.

The trip to Iowa may have been far more uncomfortable than Penn State would have liked, but it escaped the fate of the 2008 trip to Kinnick Stadium and the fate of Michigan's trip there last November.

"We expect it to be a pretty insane scene, " Barkley said. "The defense played a hell of a game, and we just wanted to get the offense going". "We stuck to what we know". "That's what makes football so special", Barkley said after the game.

The decision to pitch the ball back to Akrum Wadley on a second-and-eight play from the Iowa 3-yard line was freaky at best.

Penn State got the ball back with only 1:42 left on the clock in the fourth quarter for that walk-off victory. James Franklin agrees. "That's not who we are, and that's not who he is".

Penn State's Saquan Barkley looked the part of a Heisman Trophy candidate as he rushed for 211 yards and caught 12 passes for another 94 yards against a pretty good defense.

First and Goal from the Iowa 10-yard line. Then he missed high on a throw to DeAndre Thompkins and a tunnel screen to DaeSean Hamilton was batted down.

The Nittany Lions could have taken an 18-13 lead with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter, but came up empty on a 15-play, 75-yard drive when Anthony Nelson blocked Tyler Davis' 31-yard field-goal attempt.

Half full: Trace McSorley is a victor, clutch and a great leader. "Everyone in the huddle was saying, 'Guys we got this".

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"Coach Moorhead found different ways to get him the ball without handing it to him", Huff said, "which still allows your elite players to have an effect on the game".

Penn State had been on the other end of this situation before, with Chad Henne hitting Mario Manningham in Ann Arbor.

The Hawkeyes did a terrific job of taking the Nittany Lions out of their big-play comfort zone and forced a veteran collection of skill players to methodically work to position Penn State to score.

About 4,000 tickets went unsold for Saturday's night's battle against fourth-ranked Penn State.

"I knew we were gonna score, " Barkley said.

Adjusting on the fly and drawing up a new version of the play, it was truly backyard football. On Saturday in his 27th career start, the senior led the Nittany Lions with six tackles, including 1.5 for a loss.

Bates, guarding the quarterback's blind side at left tackle, remembers it vividly. "That's why I made the switch to number 19 to honor him". "There's a linebacker and he jumped up, and I'm like, 'Oh, s***.' And it went over his head".

Why he's top-five: Penn State had a very soft schedule through their first three games of the season, but Iowa proved to be Penn State's and Barkley's coming out party.

"I kind of dreamt about it. I couldn't believe it happened", Johnson said.

He went on to talk about how the white gloves most players wear seem to take on a bluish hue under the lights.

Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama - The projected first-round pick helped the Crimson Tide shut out Vanderbilt in Nashville, holding the Commodores to just 78 total yards. "He steps up in big moments". In his 37th career start on Saturday night, Allen did a little - and a lot - of everything. The Nittany Lions have made it through only a third of their regular-season schedule, but this win keeps intact the buffer they'll need to make the playoff if they stumble at some point during conference play. Big stages. If Barkley does something like this against the Wolverines' nasty defense, then the balloting should close early.

Scouting Saquon Barkley vs. Iowa: He's better than Zeke Elliott