The Penn State Nittany Lions offense has been rolling along over the past few weeks, helping the team put together a five-game winning streak. Starting running back Bill Belton, who had not been healthy since injuring his ankle in Week 1, returned to a major role in the offense in Week 8 at Iowa.
Belton, a slashing playmaker out of the backfield, had the best game of his career against the Hawkeyes. For the first time this year, Belton was able to show off his skills.
The sophomore running back carried the ball 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
Since Belton had been out with the injury, the Lions used a running back committee to fill the void. Derek Day, Michael Zordich, Curtis Dukes and Zach Zwinak all saw time at running back during Belton's absence.
Zwinak, a sophomore from Frederick, Maryland, emerged as the lead back over the last three weeks for the Lions. Zwinak rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in that time period.
Saturday's game at Iowa proved that a completely healthy Bill Belton turns the Penn State offense into one of the best in the Big Ten. Heading into Week 8, Penn State ranked third in the Big Ten in passing offense, but ranked dead last in rushing yards.
The addition of Belton into the offense is just what the Lions needed. It adds a whole new dimension to an already good offense. Combining his skills with the hard running of Zwinak creates a solid one-two punch that will make defenses pay attention to them.
Now Penn State seems to have a consistent rushing attack to go with quarterback Matt McGloin. McGloin has been one of the best passers in the Big Ten to date. He will surely love having a solid rushing attack that will take the pressure off of him.
An offense that was already finding its groove has just gotten even better. If Belton can continue to make plays and continue to give Penn State the rushing attack it was missing, there is no question that the Nittany Lions will be a tough out for any Big Ten opponent.