Krys Barnes currently sits on the Packer designated Covid list, sequestered from the rest of the team. While his first concern is his health, odds are he is hoping to be on the field for an additional reason on Sunday; payback for his 2019 college encounter with QB Jake Luton.
In 2019, both Oregon State and UCLA struggled to win games. Barnes was easily the Bruins’ best defensive player. His name and stats were highlighted in UCLA pregame press releases. Prior to the Oregon State game against Luton, Barnes was leading the Bruins with 42 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. The game was in Los Angeles at the Coliseum and UCLA was favored by 6 ½ points.
While that game may have led to both Barnes and Luton finding homes on their current NFL teams, the two player’s journeys to the NFL took very different paths, both impacted by this college game.
Luton lit up the Bruin defense that Saturday, to the tune of 5 TD passes. Luton’s final stat line was 18-26 for 285 yards with a longest pass completion of 53 yards and no interceptions. The Beavers also gashed the UCLA defense for 166 rushing yards beating the favored Bruins handily, 48-31. Performing so well in an upset victory in a televised game from Los Angeles helped Luton’s draft stock. He became a 2020 sixth round pick of the Jaguars in the 2020 draft.
Barnes watched most of the game from the sidelines. He was injured very early in the game and had no impact. Barnes left that game with zeroes on every stat sheet. He played the following two weeks but his total tackles dropped in half and his tackles for loss were almost nonexistent. In Barnes’ final game he put up decent numbers, (9 total tackles, 1TFL, and 2 PD) but his defense gave up 52 points to USC. Barnes went undrafted, signed by the Packers as an UDFA. Prior to his shoulder injury and Covid designation, he led the Packers in tackles as he did his UCLA team. It would be a shame if Covid robbed him of being able to settle that college score personally.
Both Luton and Barnes have displayed the talent necessary to impact an NFL game. Packer fans are hoping that Barnes has a quick recovery and that his new team has a better end result when his team faces Luton as an underdog the second time around.