In two incredible years leading the Penn State backfield, Saquon Barkley’s showed us one thing: He’s a freak.
Tallying 25 rushing touchdowns, accolades by the day, and 2,572 yards on the ground — just 1,360 shy of the school record — there’s a reason the AP preseason first team All-American is the poster child for the Penn State hype train this season.
Barkley and Co. will be back shining in Beaver Stadium this Saturday, so to get ready. We ranked the best long touchdown runs of the Heisman contender’s career.
No. 5: 81-yard run against Purdue
This 81-yard score was Barkley’s longest touchdown run of his career. This game came on the heels of Penn State earning its first AP ranking since 2011. Barkley’s run to start the fourth quarter completely broke the game open en route to the Nittany Lion’s highest scoring output of the season with 62 points. Not many players can go 81 yards untouched to the house like Barkley can.
No. 4: 55-yard run against Temple
After losing to Temple the previous year, this was sort of a revenge game for James Franklin’s squad. Up three, midway through the final quarter, Barkley turned on the jets for this 55-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach and give Penn State the 34-27 victory. Barkley showed off his elusiveness, with the cut at the 45, and his insane awareness, with a skip at the 20 to avoid the trailing defender, on his way to the end zone.
No. 3: 57-yard run against Iowa
Barkley’s long score against the Hawkeyes was another brilliant example of what the tail back brings to the table. His combination of power and speed allowed him to run right through an arm-tackle and leave another defender on the ground. Teams need to have more than one player on Barkley to bring him down — and sometimes that’s not even enough.
No. 2: 25-yard OT run against Minnesota
Barkley’s 25-yard overtime score against Minnesota was crucial in turning around Penn State’s 2016 season. Coming off the 49-10 shellacking at the hands of Michigan, there were rumbles that Franklin’s job might be jeopardy. With chants of “Fire Franklin” raining down from the stands at halftime, the NIttany Lions rallied back to force overtime. Barkley took care of the rest on the offense’s first play of the extra frame to spark the nine-game win streak that sent Penn State to the Rose Bowl.
No. 1: 79-yard run against USC
— College Football (@CFBvids) August 21, 2017
The Rose Bowl is where Barkley became a household name across the whole country. After a 194-yard rushing performance, Barkley showed the world at “The Grandaddy of Them All” that he’s the best running back in the country. His 79-yard run was a thing of beauty and it still doesn’t make sense how he found the end zone at the end of it. He broke six tackles on this run alone. Six. Some of those USC defenders are still having nightmares about Barkley disappearing at the blink of an eye.