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Sports Illustrated Ranks Penn State The No. 1 ‘Most Watchable’ Team In The Country

Penn State football has been extremely good so far in 2017 — scary good, in fact. So good, that Sports Illustrated crowned the Nittany Lions as the nation’s ‘most watchable’ team.

It’s no surprise the Nittany Lions would rank highly on such a list — especially considering the spectacle that occurred this weekend. Offensively, Penn State is a formidable juggernaut ranking No. 20 in total offense nationally. Defensively, the unit is equally as stout in holding opposing offenses to just a hair less than four yards per play.

Also, the Nittany Lions have Saquon Barkley doing things like this each week to help their case:

Here’s what SI’s Chris Johnson had to say about James Franklin’s No. 4 ranked Nittany Lions:

Saturday night’s win at Iowa provided a deceptive primetime glimpse of the most entertaining team in the country. The Hawkeyes mucked things up against the Nittany Lions, containing offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s pace-pushing attack and managing to take a four-point lead with under two minutes remaining despite being outgained by 306 yards and holding the ball for nearly 20 fewer minutes than Penn State. (The Nittany Lions eked out a two-point win after junior quarterback Trace McSorley threw a walk-off touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Juwan Johnson to punctuate a 12-play, 80-yard drive.)

When it’s really rolling, Penn State is transfixing in the way it efficiently makes its way down the field while spreading the ball around to a group of electric playmakers. Sometimes Penn State’s entire offensive operation takes a backseat to one of those playmakers, junior running back Saquon Barkley, whose blend of power, speed and lateral quickness is unmatched across the Football Bowl Subdivision. Barkley can run over defenders, juke would-be tacklers to the turf or, if neither of those options makes sense at the time, hop right over them and pick up a few more yards.

Moorhead’s offense may not always be operating at full tilt, but Barkley can make up for that. Any cries of recency bias fall on deaf ears; Barkley was great before he put his Superman cape on against Iowa, and he should be great the rest of this season.

High praise, and deservedly so. The team’s offensive statistics can be analyzed until the end of the time; Saquon Barkley is the reason this team is so damn enjoyable to watch, and there’s no comparison. He helped brutalize Iowa’s talented defense with 358 all-purpose yards, and his highlight reel is better than anybody else’s in the country in just four games.

Barkley aside, Trace McSorley’s field general work mixed in with Penn State’s incredible defensive output — led by Marcus Allen’s play in the defensive secondary — all add to the team’s watchability factor. Allen is arguably the best safety in the league, and he’s developed into a turnover machine as of late:

Penn State finished above Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Louisville, among others on the list.

Expect much of the same this weekend when the Nittany Lions face Indiana, and expect some of those offensive figures to trend upward as Joe Moorhead and his unit fire on all cylinders.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]


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