The Curious Saquon Barkley Narrative


If the Owls play a 5-2 defense, Averee Robinson will blow up the PSU center often enough to allow Praise Martin-Oquike, Greg Webb and Karamo Dioubate and company to get through and tackle the QB before he can even hand off to Saquon Barkley.

According a mental health website, the seven stages of grief can be paired down to three—disbelief, acceptance and rationalization.

When it comes to Penn State’s loss to Temple last September, we’ve already seen one and two but only now are we seeing number three. On several message boards, and in under the name Ruben Amaro, Penn State fans have appeared and said “if Saquon Barkley played against Temple, we would have won.”


That narrative is a reach, even for Penn State fans. The Nits lost by 17 and by 27-0 over the last three quarters. Barkley did play and got one yard on one carry. How does that extrapolate out to 100 yards on 25 more carries? The only numbers we have against Temple is that had Barkley got the 25 carries Penn State fans wanted him to get, he would have finished with 25 yards, and maybe Penn State would never have scored its only touchdown (a run by Akeel Lynch). Those are hard numbers, not the “gut” of some Penn State fans talking.

Let’s face it, Penn State losing to Temple was a bitter pill to swallow for these fans and they might have to hold their nose and down the same medicine in State College on Sept. 17.

The thought process there—not here—is that Temple is “losing everybody” and that Barkley and the returning Penn Staters will roll over the Owls. They do not know that Temple ran in two entire defensive units in the second half of the season, with many of the freshman, sophomore and junior backups playing roughly the same amount of time as the senior starters.

The thinking here is that Penn State is going to be surprised by Temple’s ability to stop the run and put the same clamps down on Christian Hackenberg’s successor that they did to Hackenberg himself. Offensively, P.J. Walker and Jahad Thomas—who had 134 more yards than Barkley in the Sept. 5 game—should put even more than 27 on the board this time.

No doubt Temple will be getting points on 9/17 and I’ll be flying to Vegas and putting my money down on the Owls, even if it is as little as two or three. Temple knows Barkley is good, but it also knows his one carry wasn’t the reason the Owls won. A large segment of the PSU fan base won’t admit that now, but they will find out in a few months that narrative is faulty, too.

Ignorance isn’t a stage of grief but, in this case, it should be.

Tuesday: Six months to practice against a triple option

6 thoughts on “The Curious Saquon Barkley Narrative

  1. i watched the PSU Temple again on YouTube last week.., PSU will have two new coordinators.., we should not expect PSU to come into the game with the same game plan…,

    that OC beat us with inferior talent a few years ago and i would hold my money this year…, Toledo wrote the playbook for how to beat the TU defense….,

    PSU loses more talent on defense and would be extremely vulnerable if not facing the 7th ranked offense in the AAC..,

    much depends on how dominant Temple looks in the first two games, and how PSU looks against Pitt…, right now on paper the game is a toss-up with PSU having the slight edge as the home team….,

    in 2015 three of the four loses came away from home, and we were the favorite going into two of those three…, Temple on the road in big games is dicey at best

  2. This game will be more difficult to win this season. PSU had a great recruiting season and many of those kids will play next season. The Owls lost two giants on defense and will have to replace not only their level of talent but also their leadership. In addition, the PSU QB will not be statue like Sackenburg was and they will likely be running an offense more conducive to their talent. Cannot forget that but for a couple of inches the PSU game last year could easily have been 17-0 had Hackenburg connected on the long pass down the left sideline in the first half. Do not think that the Owls would have come back from 17-0 down. What the Owls do have in their favor is that PSU will have played an emotional bragging rights game the week before and will have to get up twice in a week. can the Owls win? Certainly they can if they play smart and recall why and how they won last season.

  3. Shock or Disbelief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Guilt, Depression, Acceptance and Hope. Nit fans may be bargaining. They are in multiple phases because they have endured the Sandusky tragedy, JoPa’s death, and O’Brien’s departure. I know more about psychology than football, and I’m not bold enough to make predictions. It should be a great game and that’s what matters.

  4. I would not be surprised if the good guys win 27-10 again, but I think the good guys will win.

  5. PSU is nothing special. Game is winnable, Penn State is nothing but a mid tier big ten team, the myth of their invulnerability came crumbling down last year when we not only beat them but smacked them hard.

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