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Penn State’s Run Game Explodes in Victory Over Terps

Maryland may have come in to its Week 6 battle with Penn State as the undefeated team, but Penn State is the one that made the bigger statement when the final whistle blew on Saturday afternoon.

After struggling to find a consistent run game earlier in the season, Penn State found a 1-2 punch that teams aren’t going to be able to stop. Running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorely led a run game that racked up a ridiculous 379 yards on the ground en route to a 38-14 victory.

Following weeks of negativity, head coach James Franklin found himself in a joking mood after the game for a change.

Considering just about everyone not named Franklin believes in the Maryland-Penn State rivalry, getting the run game going in this game spoke volumes of the potential of this team. Just don’t expect Franklin to embrace this game as a rivalry going forward.

Barkley, who has been particularly quiet over the last few weeks, awoke in a big way against the Terps, putting up his first 200-yard performance of his career. He pounded out 202 yards on 31 carries to be exact. Meanwhile, McSorely has begun to showcase just how dangerous of a threat he is with his legs and his arm.

The sophomore quarterback put together an efficient day in the passing game, throwing for 152 yards on 10 completions. McSorely also had a pair of passing touchdowns, but he nearly topped the 100-yard mark on the ground as well.

He rushed for 81 yards and a score before being replaced late by Tommy Stevens. The backup proceeded to gain 36 yards on just four carries in mop-up duty.

All of that came from a rushing offense that came in to the game dead last in the Big Ten, rushing for an average of 108.0 yards per game.

It also didn’t come against a poor running defense, as the Terps came in allowing just¬†119.0 yards per game.

Still, Maryland was challenged unlike it had been previously this season and it didn’t rise to the challenge.

Credit to Penn State’s offensive line, who appeared to put a few years of frustrating football behind them on this day. It was a notable change in physicality for that group that made the difference, something Franklin noted following the game.

Now, Penn State needs to remember this feeling and this game plan and start executing it against the cream of the Big Ten crop.

For now though, this team will enjoy the win and go in to its bye week outwardly confident in itself for the first time in a long time. Funny how one week and one

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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