Miles Sanders Puts On A Show In Wisconsin Victory

No. 20 Penn State football needed a big performance from Miles Sanders on Saturday, and he certainly delivered.

The Nittany Lions’ 22-10 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday wasn’t the prettiest by any means, as the story of the game was probably Wisconsin’s offense being completely shut down by Penn State’s defense. However, Sanders was excellent throughout the game and consistently made plays on offense.

Sanders became the 26th player in program history to record 1,000 rushing yards in a single season after a 159-yard performance on the ground. He also scored a one-yard touchdown on the day — his first score since Penn State’s victory over Indiana in mid-October.

Sanders got around the edge of Wisconsin’s run defense and made plays on several occasions throughout Saturday’s game.

“We felt like we had some running opportunities based on our plan,” head coach James Franklin said postgame. “It was obviously really, really important for us to get the run game going.”

Franklin and starting quarterback Trace McSorley went on to praise the junior’s confidence in his role — both said that he’s become a much more confident player throughout the 2018 season, and it showed on Saturday.

Sanders pulled a new move out of his bag of tricks against Wisconsin. The plays he made jumping over defenders in the open field certainly have to be a product of his increased confidence — not many players are willing to literally jump over defenders, but Sanders did it twice.

The Pittsburgh native has also become much more comfortable in a leadership role. A lot’s been made of his excellent attitude as Saquon Barkley’s understudy, but he’s become a leader among his teammates now that he’s had the featured role for 10 games.

Year one of the Miles Sanders era at Penn State has certainly had its ups and downs, but it’s safe to say that the he’s established himself as one of the better players at the position.

“His leadership has been excellent, with the O-line and everybody else on the offensive side of the ball,” Franklin said. “I’m really proud of how you never see, on our sideline, guys with bad body language or demeanor. I think Miles is a great example of that. He’s been a tremendous teammate, and he couldn’t be more positive.

“He’s just matured in so many areas from the man that we recruited.”

Franklin was very willing to rotate at the running back position early on in the season, sometimes to a fault. That wasn’t the case today — Sanders was responsible for 23 of the 26 carries by Penn State’s running back corps today, and he was phenomenal all game.

Sanders’ bounce-back performance from a dismal game against Michigan last week was much-needed — his production gave Penn State the spark it needed to take down Wisconsin at Beaver Stadium.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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