Silas Redd let his emotions fuel him Saturday.
In Penn State’s 13-3 win, there was something else on his mind when he touched the ball. The true sophomore lost his paternal grandmother last Sunday, with whom he was very close.
But despite all the emotions, Redd still carried the Nittany Lions’ offense, going for a career-high 142 yards on 28 carries.
“That says something about the young man. He had a heavy burden this week,” assistant coach Galen Hall said. “It shows something about that family and what they are made of. Credit to his parents and to him for the way he played today.”
Redd returned home Thursday night for the funeral service held Friday, but came back to State College completely focused on Iowa.
He wasn’t worried about his emotions getting the best of him and thanked the team for allowing him to return home.
“I was able to just come back and focus on the game, knowing that she’s in a better place,” Redd said. “It feels good. I’m happy I was able to build off it instead of letting it break me down.”
Redd said he used to speak with his grandmother as often as he could and played cards with her all the time.
He said spending time with her will be the thing he cherishes forever.
“She always told me to be a good boy and take advantage of the opportunities that God gave me,” Redd said. “So I dedicate this one to her.”
Redd’s teammates acknowledged his efforts, saying he did a great job to overcome everything he went through.
“He’s facing a lot of adversity with his grandma today, and I just think he just went out there and played for her,” defensive tackle Devon Still said. “He knew that she was watching over him, and he did a heck of a job moving the football today.”
On the Lions’ final scoring drive — capped off with a two-yard touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to Kevin Haplea — the offense ran the ball 10 times on 11 plays.
Redd had five of those carries for 30 yards and converted two key third downs, keeping his feet moving to fight for the extra yards and falling forward past the markers.
Still said Redd’s efforts provided a spark for the defense, evident of the job it did to limit Iowa to just three points and 253 total yards.
“It gave the defense energy that I think we haven’t had before,” Still said. “We had a lot of fun playing today and we just look to build off of that.”
Although it helped the defense, the running game carried the offense and wore down Iowa’s defense.
Hall said that what the Lions showed Saturday is the direction they want to continue in. Second string back Curtis Dukes came through as well, going for a career-high 60 yards on nine carries.
“Silas ran well, Dukes ran well, and I thought we came off the football and blocked pretty well,” Hall said. “For us to be a type of football team we want to be, we have got to be able to run the ball better than we did the first five games.”