While it is way too early to say that Penn State standout Saquon Barkley will definitely win the Heisman Trophy in December, his week one performance against Akron certainly helped his chances.
Despite their best effort to actively eliminate Barkley’s impact on the game, the Zips couldn’t handle the Coplay, PA, native as he gained a total of 246 yards, including 172 on the ground.
In addition to his yardage, he scored two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter — one from three yards, and another from 30. His highlight of the afternoon was an 80-yard run (which was a yard shy of his career long) that was thought to be a touchdown, but got called back because he stepped out of bounds. Barkley earned these numbers with just 18 touches.
With this performance, Barkley’s Heisman Trophy campaign is officially underway, and it seems to be off to an excellent start. Again, it’s still very early, but Sports Illustrated listed the Penn State player as the favorite to win college football’s most prestigious award.
In addition to SI’s praise, Penn State created a new website dedicated to Barkley’s Heisman push. The page features a YouTube playlist of his signature moments as a Nittany Lion, praise from college football experts from media outlets across the country, and a list of the tailback’s many accolades earned in college.
Barkley will continue his Heisman push Saturday, when him and the Lions take on in-state rivals Pitt (Pitt, Pitt…) at Beaver Stadium. The game will start at 3:30 p.m. live on ABC.