A win is a win by definition only. Penn State beat Army 20-14 on Saturday to improve to 4-1, but the takeaway right now is a team with a losing formula. They are completely dependent on a freshman running back.
Without Saquon Barkley, Penn State was out gained by an Army team who was playing without their own leading rusher. A guy who is also their Quarterback, Ahmad Bradshaw.
A former 2 star Quarterback in AJ Schurr led the Black Knights triple option attack to 293 yards. 29 more than former top pro-style QB recruit Christian Hackenberg.
Without Barkley’s big plays, the Penn State coaching staff has had no answer this season. It speaks to how special the kid is. With him they look like a team that can compete with anyone in the Big Ten, including yes I’ll say it, Ohio State. Without him, they could have lost to Army.
The job James Franklin’s staff has done with the defense cannot go over looked. Walk-on Carl Nassib has become a star. Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson, possibly Jason Cabinda are future NFL picks. But offensively they haven’t lived up.
Penn State’s 4-1 record is one of the biggest shams in the country. Just imagine if they played 4-1 Notre Dame’s schedule. Notre Dame has already played two teams in the top 25. Penn State has only played one team in a power five conference.
With Barkley, I really like this teams chances to compete in the Big Ten. Without him, I don’t like the coaches’ chances of figuring things out.