Penn State Football: 15 best running backs in Nittany Lions history

Saquon Barkley, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Pete Mauthe is the first of a few College Football Hall of Fame running backs to make this all-time list. Mauthe is also the oldest name of note to crack this top 15, as he starred in Penn State’s backfield over a century ago.

Mauthe played fullback for the Nittany Lions from 1909 to 1912. He was a star player for them on three teams that went undefeated, with those years coming in 1909, 1911 and 1912. During his sophomore campaign in State College, Penn State lost just two games on the gridiron.

In addition to pounding the rock for the Nittany Lions, Mauthe served as the team’s punter and placekicker. Mauthe was known for his ability to nail field goals in the clutch. He hit game-winners against the rival Pittsburgh Panthers in back-to-back seasons in 1911 and 1912.

During his four years at Penn State, the football team went an impressive 26-2-4. Shortly after his playing career was over, he would take over as the head football coach at Gettysburg College, where he went a dismal 3-6-1.

After his football days were done, Mauthe used his metallurgy degree he earned at Penn State to help him eventually become the president of Youngstown Steel and Tube Company. Mauthe would later go on to serve on the board of trustees for both Pennsylvania State University and Youngstown State University.

In 1957, Mauthe would gain enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame. Had he played in a more compelling era, we would have a greater appreciation for what Mauthe did on the gridiron. Regardless, he remains one of the better players during Penn State’s early days of football action and nearly cracks the top 10 of Nittany Lions running backs all time.