PSU looking for offensive push
STATE COLLEGE >> Penn State needs more out of its offense or the 21st-ranked Nittany Lions might not get much more out of their season.
The team started the year with Big Ten championship and playoff hopes and had averaged 49 points over a 24-3 stretch. But the Nittany Lions have hit a wall with Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) up next.
Penn State (6-3, 3-3, No. 20 CFP) will try to erase last week’s humiliating loss in Ann Arbor where its offense was held to single digits for the first time since 2014.
“It’s going to be very important that we find a way to establish the run game,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “So there’s not so much on the shoulders of Trace McSorley.”
The Nittany Lions averaged 252 yards rushing through the first six weeks of the season and had 200plus on the ground in nine straight games, dating back to last year. They’ll take to Beaver Stadium on Saturday looking for a spark after averaging just 120 rushing over the last three games.
Running back Miles Sanders has remained diligent. He said the backs paid a visit to the offensive line room this week to let the linemen know they have faith in them. Franklin does, too. He’s seen them crack open holes for Sanders, whose patient approach can quickly become big plays — like a 48-yard touchdown sprint through multiple tacklers against Michigan State four weeks ago.
But those chunk runs have been rare, especially as McSorley, the other cog in the two-headed rushing attack, has dealt with a sore right knee.
“Miles has shown that he can be a big-play back in this conference and that he can carry the load and get you the tough yards, as well as the big plays,” Franklin said.
Penn State’s Miles Sanders (24) rushes against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.