Breath easy, Penn State fans: Saquon Barkley will be good-to-go on Saturday.
After leaving the Nittany Lions' 45-12 regular-season finale win over Michigan State with an unspecified injury, Barkley said Monday afternoon that he'll play in the Big Ten Championship game against No. 6 Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"I'm feeling fine," the star sophomore running back said on a conference call. "I've been getting treatment, taking it day-by-day, trying to get ready for the game this weekend."
Barkley exited Penn State's demolition of the Spartans in the third quarter after hobbling off the field. The running back was helped off and later examined on the sidelines by trainers, who were looking at his right foot.
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He did not return to the game, and actually wasn't on the field for Penn State's post-game celebrations.
As the Nittany Lions poured it on in the fourth quarter and later took part in a Big Ten East trophy ceremony, Barkley watched it all on a phone in the Beaver Stadium training room.
"Obviously I wanted to be out there for my team; unfortunately I wasn't able to," Barkley said. "But I was just excited. I was screaming in the training room, and really hyped up for those guys...When it came to the locker room, I was able to hold the trophy and put the hat on. It was a moment that I'll never forget."
Barkley has left two straight games early; he could've came back in the game against Rutgers, but Penn State coach James Franklin held him out, saying it was precautionary. The Nittany Lions didn't really need him to return in their 39-0 drubbing of the Scarlet Knights.
After expressing a bit of veiled optimism following Penn State's Big Ten East-clinching win against Michigan State, Franklin was more comfortable discussing Barkley's status on Sunday.
"We're expecting him to play," Franklin said on a Big Ten Championship coaches teleconference.
Barkley's statements further confirmed his status for Penn State's game against the Badgers, which kicks off at 8:17 p.m. on FOX.