Penn State football will rely heavily on its freshmen running back duo in the Rose Bowl
History has a funny way of sneaking up on us Penn State football fans.
It is easy to recognize an impressive feat or statistic, but often difficult to realize when history is being made.
Penn State fans are no strangers to great backfield duos: from Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell to D.J. Dozier and Blair Thomas to Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders, great backfield couples are part of Penn State’s storied history.
The freshman rushing record for yards at Penn State is 1,076 yards in 2016 by Saquon Barkley with D.J. Dozier close behind with 1,002. Singleton is 3rd with 941 yards and Allen 4th with 830. The previous record for rushing touchdowns by a true freshman was eight by Noah Cain in 2019. This duo both broke that record, with Singleton running for 10 TD’s and Allen for 9.
The Duo’s individual seasons were historic for Penn State. When coupled together, their 1,771 yards shattered the previous high of 1,259 yards, set by the late Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell in 1969. Where does this record setting performance rank in the annals of NCAA history?
The most prolific pair of freshmen running backs was Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall in 2012. Gurley rumbled for 1385 yards and 17 TD’s while Marshall added 759 yards and 8 TD’s. Interestingly enough, two years later Nick Chubb and Sony Michel had the 4th best season by two true freshman running backs.
The 1995 Texas squad featured Shon Mitchell (1099 yards, 10 TD’s) and a young Ricky Williams (990 yards, 8 TD’s) to land in 2nd place. The 3rd place group belongs to 1983 Oklahoma’s Spencer Tillman (1047 yards, 9 TD’s) and Earl Johnson (945 yards, 8 TD’s).
Singleton and Allen’s season land them in 5th place. This puts them ahead of some notable backfields, such as 2003 USC’s LenDale White and Reggie Bush, 2012 Alabama’s T.J Yeldon and Kenyan Drake or 1981 Nebraska’s Mike Rozier and Tom Rathman.
With one more game to go against Utah and their 16th-ranked rushing defense (107 yards per game), it’s quite possible that The Dynamic Duo’s history-setting campaign will improve. It’s easy to recognize an impressive season occurring but sometimes it isn’t very clear when historic efforts are being accomplished. That is exactly what Penn State football fans have been blessed with in getting to see Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen run rampant over defenses. Watch and enjoy folks!