In his first career start out from Saquon Barkley’s shadow, Miles Sanders landed some national publicity.
Sanders is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which will be on newsstands and in mailboxes later this week. The photo is of Sanders celebrating his second touchdown of Saturday’s 45-38 win over Appalachian State, the overtime game-winner that set Beaver Stadium’s student section into delirium.
Sanders said he had no idea he would be on the cover, but it was a welcomed surprise.
“Everybody was texting me, telling me I was on the cover and stuff,” Sanders said with a smile during Tuesday’s press conference availability. “I’m speechless and blessed and excited.”
Now, the centerpiece story isn’t about Sanders specifically. SI’s Andy Staples wrote about the craziness of college football in Week 1, using the Nittany Lions and Mountaineers’ stunning battle as his primary example. “Saturday, more than 100,000 people simultaneously filled the central Pennsylvania air with carbon dioxide,” Staples wrote, referencing the collective exhale when Penn State won. “They had been scared, but they had also been thrilled.”
And Sanders was critical in Penn State’s narrow win. The junior rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, impressing with his straight-forward power running in the second half and overtime.
Penn State safety Lamont Wade — Sanders’ roommate — called the SI cover “amazing.”
“I’ve been cool with Miles since high school, and just to see how patient he’s been for these two years, controlling what he can control, now it’s finally his time,” Wade said. “That’s cool to see.”
Asked if the cover will hang somewhere in their home, Wade said he hopes so. But redshirt freshman wideout KJ Hamler — often compared to former Penn State safety Marcus Allen, in that he’s a ball of uncontrollable energy — is also Sanders and Wade’s roommate.
“The house is kinda (wild),” Wade said with a smile. “I hope it doesn’t fall down.”