Penn State Football

How Penn State Football is Emphasizing Running Game After Bye Week

Penn State Football has focused heavily on its running game through the first five weeks of the season, however while the running game has been alright this season, neither Nick Singleton nor Kaytron Allen have returned to their freshman form yet in 2023.

Coming off of a year where Singleton and Allen combined for almost 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground, the dynamic sophomore duo is on pace for only 1,534 yards this season, a 20 percent drop off from 2022.

Questions have arisen on whether the offensive line, Singleton and Allen, or the playcalling, or a combination of the three, are the reason behind the regression in the running game from 2022 to 2023.

This week, at both his weekly press conference Tuesday and after practice Wednesday, Penn State head coach James Franklin addressed the running game in different ways to discuss the expectations for the rest of the season.

On Tuesday in his weekly press conference, Franklin noted that Penn State’s running game has been good to give the team balance.


“We want to have the ability to run or pass,” Franklin told reporters. “In any game or any given situation. That’s how we view balance.”

Franklin did go on to say “I still believe” the explosive plays in the running game are coming later in the season.

So, while the running game isn’t where the staff would like it to be, especially from an explosive play standpoint, Franklin mentioned specifically that the Penn State staff is confident in the running game in short yardage situations enough that it does not limit the playcalling in those situations.

Franklin further noted that Penn State can call either a run or a pass in short yardage, which helps to not limit the offense. This balance, of being able to run and pass in every situation, Franklin mentioned is “as good of balance as we’ve had and maybe that I’ve been around.”

On Wednesday after practice, Franklin addressed the running backs again, answering a question about instincts and overcoaching. Franklin mentioned that

“what you don’t want is for [the running back] to second guess himself in the hole.” Franklin further commented that he wants the running backs “playing fast, playing aggressive, having fun, trusting your instincts, and just going for it.”

From all indications, the Penn State coaching staff has great confidence in the running game finding its 2022 form in the second half of the season.

With rain expected this Saturday for Penn State’s game against the University of Massachusetts, and the Minutemen’s run defense ranking 128th in the nation, Penn State’s running game could start to re-find its form this weekend.

Heading into Columbus next week, having success running the football and finding some form in the running game this weekend could be crucial in giving itself a chance to pull off an upset in Columbus and stay in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff.

MORE: CBS Sports gives Penn State HIGH marks among Big Ten foes


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About Author

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.