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‘Playing at a High Level’: PSU HC Franklin Discusses Freshmen RBs

Nicholas Singleton, Penn State running back
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Penn State Nittany Lions Running Back Nicholas Singleton (10) runs with the ball past Central Michigan Chippewas Defensive Back Ronald Kent Jr. (2) defending during the first half of the college football game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 24,2022, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

The emergence of true freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron “Fatman” Allen has been one of the best stories of this Penn State football season.

But neither Nick nor the “Fatman” got going in Penn State’s 41-17 loss at Michigan Saturday, Oct. 15.

Singleton and Allen each had six carries and couldn’t do much with them. Singleton gained just 19 yards, and Allen gained 16.

In Penn State’s 45-17 win over Minnesota this past Saturday night, both of Penn State’s freshmen studs played like studs. Singleton had 79 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, good for 6.1 yards per carry, and Allen had 77 yards on 15 carries, suitable for a 5.1 average.

On the season, Singleton and Allen have combined for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging nearly six yards per run.

Penn State has a running game again, and coach James Franklin loves it.

“I’ve been impressed with those guys all year long,” Franklin told reporters in his postgame press conference. “Two true freshmen that I think are playing at a high level.”

Franklin said Penn State could follow what it wanted to do offensively coming into the game.

It was harder to do that against Michigan, where Penn State trailed most of the day and lost by 24.

“We were able to stick with the game plan and stick with the run,” Franklin said. “I thought we had a lot of diversity in our playcalling tonight, whether it was play-action passes, shots, whether it was getting the tight ends involved, getting Parker Washington involved, and then those two running backs.”

Franklin pointed out two specific plays, one from Allen and Singleton.

The Allen run he cited took place past the midway point in the second quarter.

On a 2nd and 8 with Penn State leading 10-3, Allen ran for 10 yards and a first down, running over Minnesota safety Jordan Howden in the process.

Penn State scored a touchdown on that drive and went ahead by two scores.

Franklin felt Allen’s run played a big part in making that happen.

“I thought that run that Kaytron had early on when he ran over the safety was a big-time run and got us going,” Franklin said.

The Singleton run Franklin referenced was his 30-yard touchdown that accounted for six of Penn State’s last seven points.

Penn State has a running game again, and Franklin wants to see the two freshmen continue to ball out.

“We have to continue to build on that,” he said.

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