Penn State and Trey Potts find happiness in winning ugly
Resourcefulness knows no bounds in the Big Ten, even in a game you’re supposed to win big. For Trey Potts, who wondered if he might ever get this opportunity again, that was worth smiling about.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Trey Potts has, to put it politely, seen some stuff.
While with Minnesota two years ago, the running back’s football career nearly came to an end in a game at Purdue, as he suffered an undisclosed injury that hospitalized him for six nights, sidelined him for the season and almost cost him his career, if not more. The Williamsport, Pa., native recovered to play in 12 games for the Gophers last year, before transferring to nearby Penn State for his fifth college season.
Stuck behind a pair of blue-chip backs in sophomores Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, Potts’ moments to shine have come few and far between. He received five carries in the opener, seven more last week, and would end up getting just one in Saturday’s game at Illinois.
But coach James Franklin hinted earlier in the week that more could be coming for Potts. And with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter Saturday, locked in a game that was much closer than it probably should have been, Potts took a pitch from Drew Allar, ran a few yards to his right and unleashed a soft toss to Tyler Warren, leaving the tight end just enough room to get his feet in-bounds as he hauled in an 11-yard touchdown catch that broke the game open.
Penn State beat Illinois, 30-13, to improve to 3-0. Potts’s touchdown toss turned a 16-7 lead into a 23-7 cushion. The Nittany Lions had five takeaways against the Illini, yet averaged just over four yards per rush (4.1). Their third-string running back threw more touchdown passes than their five-star quarterback did (0). It was a gloomy, overcast day on the last weekend of the summer.
Little about what went down at Memorial Stadium made sense.
That’s also another way of saying that it was a typical Big Ten game.
Just ask Potts, who has been around this conference long enough to know a good win when he sees one, even if it’s not always pretty.