Nick Singleton, behind Penn State's rediscovered run recreation, a hazard for No. 5 Michigan

Published:Mar 8, 202423:02
Nick Singleton, behind Penn State's rediscovered run recreation, a hazard for No. 5 Michigan

By RJ Younger
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Author

If followers of Penn State have been boisterous to start out the season, they actually have a respectable motive to be ok with issues getting into Week 7.

That is as a result of the No. 10 Nittany Lions, undefeated at 5-0, have an actual probability to tug an upset at No. 5 Michigan (6-0) on Saturday (Midday ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app). The rationale for optimism in Joyful Valley is easy — Penn State has returned to its roots, pushed by way of the skills of true freshman working again Nick Singleton. 

This may not appear shocking when analyzing Singleton's credentials — he was Nationwide Gatorade Participant of the 12 months at Governor Mifflin Excessive Faculty in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in any case, speeding for greater than 2,000 yards with 44 TDs as a senior in 2021.

However the turnaround is outstanding when you think about this: Penn State managed to play all the season in 2021 and not using a single 100-yard rusher. That is a doubtful feat that had not been "achieved" in State Faculty for the reason that Nineteen Sixties. Gone have been the latest days of Saquon Barkley putting worry into the hearts of opposing fan bases simply by lining up seven-and–a-half yards deep within the backfield. Lengthy gone have been the times — 20 years in the past, the truth is — since Larry Johnson Jr. rushed for two,000 yards as a senior at PSU.

What’s extra? Heading into the 2021 season, Penn State coach James Franklin stated he anticipated the offensive line to be a power of his workforce. However after I spoke with him at Massive Ten Media Days earlier than the beginning of this season, he refused to make such a proclamation.

"I've come to the Massive Ten Media Days yearly and talked about that is going to be the 12 months … I am not doing that this 12 months," Franklin stated. "I am gonna let the proof be within the pudding. I will allow you to inform me on the center of the season the place we're at. And no matter you say might be gospel."

Interview: James Franklin on RB Nick Singleton

Interview: James Franklin on RB Nick Singleton

RJ Younger spoke with Penn State head coach James Franklin at Massive Ten Media Days. The coach touched on quite a lot of points, together with what he anticipated from working again Nick Singleton.

Nicely, let me be a type of to say on the midpoint of the season, your offensive line and run recreation have been good, Coach Franklin. However that’s not an accident.

"It is our dedication to the working recreation," Franklin informed me final July. "It is with the ability to run on regular downs. It is with the ability to run on short-yardage conditions, goal-line, four-minute. 

"That is a dedication within the offseason, that is growth of the offensive line after which that is working backs having a mentality that wishes the scheme or the gamers up entrance get you to the free linebacker or get you to the free security. Now you bought to do your job, you gotta make that one man miss."

Since Singleton started speeding behind that O-line, he’s answered the decision to make defenders miss, profitable these 1-on-1 conditions. So have his cohorts in that working again room, together with Kaytron Allen and Keyvone Lee. The Nittany Lions have produced three 100-yard rushers of their first 5 video games, and Singleton has accounted for 2 himself, together with a 179-yard outing on simply 10 carries in opposition to Ohio.

He adopted up that efficiency with 124 yards on, once more, simply 10 carries, en route a 42-10 victory at Auburn, making the Nittany Lions the primary Massive Ten program to win Jordan-Hare.

Nicholas Singleton dashed 53 yards vs. Auburn

Nicholas Singleton dashed 53 yards vs. Auburn

Penn State took a 21-6 lead at Auburn of their assembly this season, because of a 53-yard run from Singleton.

It’s clear to me that if the Nittany Lions are going to proceed their undefeated begin to the season, Singleton goes to be on the middle of it, simply as Michigan working again Blake Corum has been for the Michigan Wolverines from the bounce.

With 124 yards on 25 carries in opposition to Indiana final week, Corum grew to become the primary Michigan tailback to hurry for not less than 120 yards in every of UM’s first three league video games within the final quarter-century. With Corum within the backfield, Jim Harbaugh has been afforded the luxurious of carrying the QB derby between Cade McNamara — final 12 months’s starter and captain — and former five-star recruit J.J. McCarthy into the common season.

Midway by way of the season, Corum is on tempo to complete the common season with almost 1,500 speeding yards greater than six yards per carry, because the Wolverines try to defend their first Massive Ten title in almost twenty years.

What’s extra? The 735 rush yards he’s picked up this 12 months because the function again aren’t empty. He’s proven himself able to being each the ignition for the offense to start firing and its most succesful nearer when the sport must be put away.

To this point, he’s been at his finest at residence, speeding for 478 yards and 9 TDs at Michigan Stadium. With the nation’s fifth-best rush protection touring to the Massive Home this Saturday, he’ll should be once more.

The place does Blake Corum amongst Michigan RBs?

Where does Blake Corum among Michigan RBs?

RJ Younger is joined by former Iowa working again Shonn Greene and former Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards in a dialogue about Blake Corum.

Manny Diaz’s protection has allowed a median of simply 79.6 speeding yards per recreation, and you may guess he’ll attempt to power McCarthy to beat his protection by throwing the ball as typically as potential, whereas additionally persevering with their development of taking the ball away from opposing offenses.

The Nittany Lions have notched 11 takeaways over their final three video games. Maybe this recreation will come right down to the working backs as soon as once more, and the one who has the higher exhibiting — Singleton or Corum — can even be on the profitable workforce.

RJ Younger is a nationwide school soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast "The Quantity One Faculty Soccer Present." Observe him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Younger Present" on YouTube.

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