Although the Nittany Lions do not release official injury reports, both Barkley and Lynch appeared on the sideline in street clothes. Both left last week’s game against San Diego State with first-half injuries and did not return.
Penn State coach James Franklin declined to update their statuses this week, but said he expected them back at some point this season. Neither practiced Wednesday during the portion open to the media.
The absences could have a profound impact on the Nittany Lions' offense, which is ranked No. 110 nationally in total offense. Barkley, a true freshman, has already been compared to former All-American Curt Warner and leads the team with 373 rushing yards this season. Lynch has 262 yards.
Barkley is averaging 8.9 yards a carry. Penn State’s other running backs are averaging 5.1 yards a carry.
With the injuries, Penn State is expected to split duties with two or three other running backs. Redshirt freshmen Mark Allen and Nick Scott should see the most time, while redshirt freshman Johnathan Thomas was called up from the scout team this week.
Those three players have combined for 18 carries this season, most of which came after last weekend’s first-half injuries.