The carry came five seconds into the 20-10 setback Thursday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Barkley, 21, was in the backfield before taking a handoff from quarterback Eli Manning. Barkley jetted to his right before avoiding several arm tackles. He then turned on the jets and sprinted behind the 20-yard line. He slanted more to his right and beat several players around the edge, before being pushed out of bounds beyond the 50-yard line.
"You're just so locked in the moment and you're just living in the moment that you really don't even notice what's going on in your head, but the offensive line did a great job with blocking up front, creating space. Evan [Engram] made an unbelievable block there and I was able to create some space and get a big gain," Barkley told reporters.
Barkley totaled 43 yards on four carries for an average of 10.8 yards per tote. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft led all running backs in yardage during the preseason bout.
"It was kind of weird. I was talking to a lot of guys there. For some reason I didn't get nervous, I didn't really get anxious," Barkley said of his first NFL appearance. "It was kind of a weird feeling."
"They said it would probably hit me when the national anthem goes off, but I kind of just got locked in so quick, I just have been preparing for this moment for my whole life and being able to play in the NFL, and I didn't want any other thing to ruin it. If I had broken a long run, no, I just wanted to go out there and enjoy, and have fun, and take advantage of every rep and every opportunity I got."
Giants coach Pat Shurmer said he "loved" Barkley's first run but wished they "all could be like that."
"You could see, it wasn't too big for him," Shurmer said. "He's probably played before bigger crowds at Penn State. It really wasn't too big for him and I think he took the next step in his progress to get ready for the season."
The Giants face the Detroit Lions in their next preseason game at 7 p.m. Aug. 17 at Ford Field in Detroit. New York ranked No. 26 in rushing during the 2017 season.