Without question, Allen Robinson is the best receiver on the Penn State Nittany Lions. The junior led the Big Ten Conference in receiving last year and is back on top this season. However, because of his superb talent, he often draws double coverage and the attention of the opposing team’s best cover defender. That means that other receivers need to step up and be involved in the passing game.
For the season, Robinson has 43 catches for 705 yards and five touchdowns. The next closest receiver to him has just 22 catches. Clearly, the passing attack utilizes Robinson more than anyone else.
However, Robinson can’t do it alone and needs help from his teammates.
In the game against Michigan, Robinson was covered tightly the entire time, mainly by Blake Countess, a top-notch defender. Because of that, Robinson had a rather quiet night for much of the game. He did finish with 84 yards, but was kept out of the end zone. However, he made perhaps the biggest play of the game by going up high and catching a 36-yard pass at the goal line that set up the game-tying touchdown.
When Robinson does struggle to get free, it’s important that the Nittany Lions have someone else who can make plays for freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Giving a young quarterback several talented targets to throw to makes his development go smoother and ultimately helps the team win.
That’s what happened last week against the Wolverines. Wide receiver Brandon Felder and tight end Jesse James both had big games.
Felder led the team with six catches for 96 yards. He also added his first two touchdowns of the season and made a great, jumping catch on the game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter. James tied Felder with six catches and added 67 yards and a spectacular touchdown catch.
If the Nittany Lions are going to continue to have success through the air, receivers other than Robinson will need to emerge.