STATE COLLEGE – Saturday was not a glorious afternoon for Penn State’s running backs.
Former Gov. Mifflin star Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen and Keyvone Lee combined to lose four fumbles in the Nittany Lions’ 17-7 win over Northwestern at rain-drenched Beaver Stadium.
Those three, however, did not create the biggest news of the day. Devyn Ford, who coach James Franklin lauded last month for his team-first attitude, left the team.
“Devyn Ford is no longer on the team,” Franklin said. “He’s decided that he wants to focus on academics, and we wish him the best. I think you guys know I praised Devyn Ford for four years and have a lot of respect for him. I wish him nothing but the best.”
In addition, Allen did not play in the first half Saturday one week after he rushed for 111 yards and one touchdown against Central Michigan.
“I would keep those decisions internal whether it’s injuries, whether it’s behavior modification, whatever it may be,” Franklin said. “We’re going to keep those (decisions) internal.”
Franklin seemed more perturbed about the four fumbles. Singleton lost two in the first half, and Allen and Lee one apiece in the fourth quarter.
“I’m never going to allow the weather to be an excuse,” Franklin said. “We’ve got to protect the football now. You have to take all shots with the top of your pads. You can’t take on a helmet with the ball. That won’t end well. We obviously need to continue working there.”
The four fumbles were the first of the season for Penn State.
Singleton made his second straight start and carried 21 times for 87 yards and one touchdown. Allen ran 21 times, all in the second half, for 86 yards. Lee had 40 yards on 10 carries to help the Lions run for 220 yards.
Lions still love Amor: Penn State’s Barney Amor continued to punt well, averaging 40.0 yards on five attempts and dropping four of them inside the 20, including three inside the 10.
Including Saturday, Amor is averaging 44.7 yards on 23 punts, including 12 that have been downed inside the 10.
“We did win the field position battle,” Franklin said. “Barney has been a big part of our success there all year long. He’s been phenomenal. He should be getting more people talking about how well he’s playing.”
Defensive numbers: Penn State’s defense improved its season numbers with its performance against Northwestern.
After holding the Wildcats to seven points, the Lions lowered their points allowed to 14.8 per game. They also lowered their rushing yards allowed to 79.6 per game.
In addition, Penn State, which had led the nation in pass breakups, had eight more to increase its season total to 49. Defensive tackle Hakeem Beamon had two, and Keaton Ellis, Kalen King, Joey Porter Jr., Tyler Elsdon, Daequan Hardy and Johnny Dixon had one apiece.
Defensive end Nick Tarburton had the only sack when he stripped the football from quarterback Ryan Hilinski and Curtis Jacobs recovered.
Lambert-Smith injured: Penn State starting wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith suffered an injury to his right leg in the first quarter on a run.
He was helped off the field and was later seen wearing a boot. He did not return.
Penn State does not release injury information.
Source: Berkshire mont