Penn State Football: what’s in the numbers entering 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach James Franklin and Marcus Allen
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach James Franklin and Marcus Allen /

With just a few weeks remaining until the season, VBR looks back at last year’s Penn State football stat leaders. Hint, it features some big names.

James Franklin and Penn State football went from a struggling bowl squad to national power in just a few short months. It wouldn’t have happened without some key players along the way. A record-breaking season featured big numbers and star-studded names. Those numbers don’t always define great players, but last year it’s hard to ignore the names at the top of list.

Number to note: 11

First off, the biggest number from the season is 11 – the number of wins the Nittany Lions recorded in 2016. This number can’t be attributed to the player because it’s a team achievement, but it can be given to Franklin. The head coach and leader of the Nittany Lions’ resurgence did everything necessary to put the back at the top.

He recruited some strong classes and built an explosive squad. Penn State recorded its first double-digit win season since 2009. Franklin received some do for the past season, but it never amounted for the previous scrutiny. He returns to keep the team on the road to redemption.

Number to note: 110

Penn State safety Marcus Allen is a physical monster. During his career, he’s created a persona as almost another linebacker in the box. Allen can cover ground so quickly, but even more so last year than any other. He recorded a team-high 110 tackles many of which were squared up tackles. He doesn’t tip-toe into contact and loves to earhole players.

Allen’s ability anchors a deep Penn State defense. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to assume he’ll record even more tackles in 2017 (Video Courtesy of Nittany Nation).

Number to note: 29

Trace McSorley set a Penn State football record with 29 touchdown passes in 2016. The wild man quarterback gives new meaning to the term “controlled chaos”. He takes the emotional leader role and keeps the team in games no matter the deficit.

McSorley received a lot of adoration probably ad nauseam to many Big Ten fans. It doesn’t matter, because he deserves it. After years of a lot of game managers and poor surrounding offenses, he brought excitement back to Happy Valley.

Number to note: 6.2

Big plays follow this final number on the list. It’s the average number of yards per touch for Nittany Lions’ back Saquon Barkley. The Doak Walker Award candidate averages 6.2 yards on his 502 offensive touches.

For fans without a calculator, that’s 3,135 scrimmage yards to go along with 30 total touchdowns. It may not seem like a huge number, but for someone with that much grinding behind a previously-porous offensive line it is. With the 2017 season looming, he’s got an opportunity to raise that number with a more explosive, experienced offense.

Must Read: Penn State Football News: McSorley’s top attributes, defensive MVP

Penn State football contains so many great players and contributors, and there’s more than just the few I’ve named. However, these are four of the biggest figureheads in the program.