True Freshmen Nick Singleton And Kaytron Allen Headline Penn State’s Run Game In Win Over Auburn

Finally, Penn State football has a run game.

The Nittany Lions took down Auburn 41-12 in commanding fashion at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It felt like the first complete game Penn State has played in a while, with the offense, defense, and special teams firing on all cylinders.

Most notably, though, Penn State’s run game looked dominant for the first time in a very long time. True freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for four touchdowns and 176 yards on 19 combined carries. That’s awesome stuff.

We saw flashes of Singleton and Allen breaking out in Penn State’s first game against Purdue and more of it last week in the team’s victory over Ohio, but these two were whole new animals.

Singleton rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on ten carries. Yes, those numbers are great, but they don’t really capture how dominant he was on the field. He registered two carries over 40 yards, which he’s now done in consecutive weeks, bringing Penn State a breakout threat for the run game. The true freshman basically led a drive all on his own, too.

Allen had himself a great game, too. The true freshman only put up 52 cards on nine carries, but he gained tough yards when it mattered most and scored two touchdowns. He showed the unique ability to turn what should be a two-yard run into a gain of eight or nine yards, which is a highly underrated talent for a running back to have.

The rest of the team was obviously impressed with the two freshmen.

“I have not seen two guys have this type of success early in their career,” Franklin said in his postgame press conference. “…They kind of have a complimentary style, but they both have the ability to make plays.”

Franklin went on to credit running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider for helping develop the two on the mental side.

Starting quarterback Sean Clifford was also impressed with the duo after the game, especially with Singleton After all, they both helped take pressure off Clifford and the passing game as a whole.

“Those two have really raised the level of play in the running back room,” Clifford said after the game. “That’s no knock on Keyvone [Lee] and Devyn [Ford]. The bar was raised, and everybody has come up and risen that bar. I’m really proud of that room.”

In fact, Clifford also mentioned that the offensive line was so confident in the run game today that the group even asked to run the ball inside the red zone.

Clifford and Franklin also both emphasized that establishing the run game like the team did today helps take pressure off the passing game and creates a well-balanced offense. It’s been important to the success the offense has found in the last two games.

“The ability to be more balanced and take pressure off the passing game has been really important for us,” Franklin said.

The offensive line does deserve credit for what seems to be Penn State’s newly established run game, though, especially in short-yardage situations when everyone knows the Nittany Lions will run the rock. The line was able to create space for Singleton and Allen to do their thing, which helped Penn State control the tempo of the game.

“When everybody in the stadium knows you’re running and you can still get four, five, six, seven yards, or even pop one off every once in a while, it’s big time,” redshirt freshman offensive lineman Landon Tengwall said after the game.

Keyvone Lee and Devyn Ford both did their part, too. The two combined for 58 yards on 11 carries. Lee went down on the field early in the game and limped to the sideline with what looked like a right knee injury, but he hung tough and stayed in the action.

If Penn State can continue this success in the run game and balance out the offensive attack, the rest of the country better watch out because the Nittany Lions could make more noise than most people expected at the start of the season.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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