Penn State notebook: RB Akeel Lynch not lost in shuffle
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Since his team-leading 123-yard rushing performance against Kent State on Sept. 21, Akeel Lynch has been largely invisible from the Penn State offense.
Based on what coach Bill O'Brien had to say Tuesday, don't read too much into that.
“He's a great kid and a great teammate,” O'Brien said during the Big Ten coaches conference call. “In the last game, we had an idea we were going to rotate three backs, and then when (Bill Belton) was in there, we felt Billy was really doing things well, so we really didn't want to take Billy out.
“It's not a reflection on Akeel Lynch. We think the world of Akeel Lynch, and we'll continue to work him into the lineup.”
Lynch, a redshirt freshman, has 270 yards on 35 carries (7.7 average) and more than 100 yards during each of the games in which he had more than five carries.
However, it should be noted that those games were against Mid-American Conference bottom-feeders Kent State and Eastern Michigan.
Zach Zwinak (393 yards, 4.3 average, eight touchdowns) and Belton (387 yards, 5.3, three) also have led the Nittany Lions in rushing during a game this season. If O'Brien continues to share carries like he has, Penn State's streak of eight consecutive seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher is in jeopardy.
The Lions' second and final idle week of the season happens to follow a game that was the longest in Big Ten history, a 43-40, four-overtime win over Michigan. That meant Monday's practice was merely a scrimmage involving just younger players.
“A four-overtime game is a long football game,” O'Brien said, “so the biggest goal for us this week is to get healthy.”
OSU's Hall practicing
Ohio State running back Jordan Hall returned to practice Monday after missing the previous game because of a knee injury. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said the Jeannatte alum will play primarily on special teams and as a complement to Carlos Hyde, who has passed Hall on the depth chart.
Hall, a fifth-year senior, averaged 21.3 carries in Ohio State's first three games this season. Will he see that kind of workload again?
“I hope so,” Meyer said. “It's my understanding the road to recovery is pretty good.”
Penn State's next game is Oct. 26 at Ohio State, an 8 p.m. kickoff that will be televised on ABC.
The Michigan-Penn State game this past Saturday drew a 2.6 television rating on ESPN. That compares to 2.2 for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on TBS that same day. ... Penn State is second in the Big Ten in fourth-down conversions (10) and is the only conference team yet to allow an opponent a successful fourth-down. ... O'Brien denied that those who attended his weekly radio show at a State College restaurant last week were banned from asking questions about the previous game, a loss to Indiana.
Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.
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