Matchup To Watch: Indiana's Tegray Scales vs. Penn State's Saquon Barkley

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Written By Alex Compton

Well, it was the fifth win they needed. That’s all I would like to say about the Rutgers game. 

Saquon Barkley vs. Tegray Scales

Our preseason preview had this game as a very winnable one for Indiana. While it still is a winnable game, Penn State is one of the hottest teams in the country at this point in time, rattling off five wins in a row including a 41-14 drubbing of Iowa last weekend. It will take a total team effort to win this game, but perhaps the biggest key for Indiana in this game will be to stop Saquon Barkley. Not only has he resurrected Penn State’s offense and season, he has also joined the Heisman conversation. You could argue that Barkley is having the best year of any running back in the country, and stopping him will be the top priority for Tom Allen and his defense. 

Penn State’s zone blocking scheme up front positions their backs like Barkley to have individual matchups on linebackers and safeties. If you miss Barkley, he’s gone. For Indiana, the man tasked with keeping Barkley on a leash will be Tegray Scales. So far this season, Tegray Scales has been the player that Tom Allen leaves on an island to make tackles by himself. As of right now, Tegray Scales ranks SECOND in the country in solo tackles with 64. He is still behind Kent State’s Nate Holley who had 80 before last night’s game. Scales has missed very few tackles, and his ability to bring ball carriers down by himself is a huge luxury for IU’s defense to have. The defense has relied on this in the last few games, and it has worked for the most part. If Scales misses, Barkley will add to his already impressive highlight film so far, and run all over the Hoosiers on Saturday.

Barkley really can do it all. Most college football writers have him sneaking into the Top 5 of the Heisman race at this point, and he has seemed to get better each and every week. Last week against Iowa, he had 211 all-purpose yards and two scores. He is already over 1,000 rushing yards on the year, and has had 786 all-purpose yards in the last four weeks. Those are ridiculous numbers, and he hasn’t had to play much in the 4th quarter the last two weeks during blowouts against Purdue and Iowa. If Scales can’t bring him down as he gets going, Indiana will have a really, really tough time defeating Penn State. 

Other Notes On This Matchup:

5th year senior starting right tackle JJ Denman has been banged up over the last two weeks, and remains a game time decision for Saturday. If he is unavailable, redshirt freshman Kamaal Seymour will make his first career start. 

Indiana is currently sixth in the Big Ten with 15 sacks allowed. Nebraska is fifth in the nation and first in the conference with just 6 allowed (IU had just one). Troy leads the nation with just 1 sack allowed, and Army is next with 5. 

Saquon Barkley Stats 2016:

167 carries, 1055 yards, 6.3 average, 81 long, 11 touchdowns

15 receptions, 257 yards, 17.1 average, 44 long, 2 touchdowns