Redshirt freshman running back Akeel Lynch has the fewest carries of the three main Penn State running backs, but continues to make the case for more playing time. Lynch, who didn’t receive a carry against Kent State until the fourth quarter, made the most of his limited playing time. Lynch ended up leading all rushers in the game with 123 yards.
Coming out of spring practice, there was a lot of hype surrounding Lynch. He impressed the coaching staff with his skills. Lynch was given a redshirt last season and gained valuable experience learning Bill O’Brien’s offense in practice.
However, in a bit of a shocker, Lynch did not receive a single carry in the season opener against Syracuse.
In Week 2 against Eastern Michigan, Lynch showed what he is capable of doing if given a chance. In his first collegiate game, he carried the ball 13 times for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Lynch saw limited action in the loss to Central Florida, receiving just five carries in the game. However, he did finish with 32 yards and a healthy average of 6.4 yards a carry.
For the season, Lynch has 32 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown. His excellent average of 8.2 yards per carry is the best on the team.
Lynch’s numbers show that he is more than capable of being a featured back at the collegiate level. Unfortunately for him, the Nittany Lions are loaded in the backfield with two other stud backs. Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton, who both started games last season, are also having a solid year.
Zwinak’s eight rushing touchdowns is tied for the best in the Big Ten Conference. Belton has rushed has rushed for 253 yards and has three total touchdowns.
Though the Penn State backfield is crowded, Lynch has made a very strong case for more carries. He seems to give the offense a burst of energy when he’s in the game and has proven to be difficult for opposing defenses to stop. He’s a hard runner who also has the quickness to elude tackles and break away from defenders.
O’Brien has a good problem on his hands. He now has to figure out how to spread the ball around and keep all of his talented running back healthy. No matter how the carries are split, Lynch has shown that his talents are too great to ignore.
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