- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

State College, Pa. (AP) - Penn State has had two full recruiting classes since NCAA sanctions limited its scholarship numbers from 2012-13.

The Nittany Lions need that extra depth now following a costly 37-21 victory over San Diego State.

Already without starting middle linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White and top offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, Penn State began the game without senior safety Jordan Lucas, then quickly lost its other starting safety when Marcus Allen left the game with a right arm injury. He returned to the sideline with his arm in a sling.

Running backs Saquon Barkley and junior Akeel Lynch were both hurt in the second quarter and backup defensive end Evan Schwan also left the game and did not return.

Coach James Franklin doesn’t address injuries unless they’re season-ending but said he’d know more about Barkley and Lynch following tests on Sunday and Monday. He knows his offense suffered without its top two backs, who combined for 80 yards on 18 carries. Redshirt freshmen Nick Scott and Mark Allen managed just 14 yards the rest of the way.

Barkley picked up where he left off against Rutgers, when he ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He scored Penn State’s first touchdown against the Aztecs, breaking six tackles and turning a short pass into a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He ripped off a 21-yard run to set up a field goal later in the half but injured his right ankle as he was tackled out of bounds.

As trainers taped Barkley’s ankle, Lynch was felled by a helmet to his left leg. Franklin hurried onto the field to hold Lynch’s hand as trainers examined his left knee. Neither back returned to the game, although it looked like Barkley was lobbying to get back on the field.

Allen did score on a 13-yard reception on the next play, however. Scott, the team’s primary kickoff returner, was removed from that unit so he could focus on offense. He finished with six carries for nine yards. Redshirt freshman Johnathan Thomas is another option, but hasn’t carried in a game yet.

“Either those two guys will step up or we’ll have to bring someone else up,” Franklin said. “Those guys have shown us good things, but they’re all freshmen.”

Penn State’s defense got along fine despite its personnel losses. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop plugged longtime reserve Malik Golden in for Lucas and sophomore Troy Apke took Marcus Allen’s spot.

“I’ve been doing this for three years now,” Golden said. “I just stayed on track because you can never skip a beat.”


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