Wide performance chasm exists between Robinson, other Penn State wide receivers
College Football Videos
MINNEAPOLIS — A primary tenet of the defensive game plan Minnesota used to beat Penn State on Saturday was breathtakingly simple.
“We didn't let (Allen Robinson) beat us,” Golden Gophers acting coach Tracy Claeys said. “We took away one guy and controlled everybody else.”
Intuitive, yes. Also easier said than done. Ask the Nittany Lions' previous eight opponents, who had to be thinking something similar but still allowed Robinson to catch an average of 8.3 passes for 130.4 yards.
Even in the 24-10 loss at TCF Bank Stadium, Robinson managed seven receptions for 63 yards. Much of his production came in the fourth quarter with Penn State chasing a two-touchdown deficit.
Most worrisome for the Lions is that no other receiver stepped up despite Minnesota all but begging quarterback Christian Hackenberg to throw to the opposite side of Robinson.
The lack of a secondary receiving threat has been an issue most of the season. It has reached something of a culmination and threatens to plague Penn State in its final three games.
Wide receivers other than Robinson combined for one catch versus Minnesota. A closer examination reveals just how wide the chasm is between Robinson and the Lions' other receivers when it comes to production.
Saturday, Hackenberg targeted Robinson 11 times. Nine of those passes resulted in positive plays (two drew pass-interference penalties) and accounted for 83 yards.
“Obviously, he's a guy where you need to know where he's at at all times,” Gophers safety Brock Vereen said.
When Hackenberg targeted other receivers — Matt Zanellato, Brandon Felder and Richy Anderson — he was 1 for 8.
This despite Claeys maintaining that the Gophers double-teamed Robinson “almost every single time.”
The season receiver breakdown: Robinson has 73 catches for 1,106 yards (15.2 average) and six touchdowns.
Felder, Anderson, Zanellato, Geno Lewis and Alex Kenney have 56 catches for 578 yards (10.3 average) and four touchdowns.
Robinson's share of the receivers' production is 57 percent of the receptions, 66 percent of yards and 60 percent of touchdowns.
Numerous times this season, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has downplayed concern over the lack of a consistent, reliable option opposite Robinson.
Penn State players were not made available to comment after the Minnesota game.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- D.C. charges woman over armed protest
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- Islanders outwork Penguins to sweep back-to-back meetings
- Pitt beats Syracuse, snaps 3-game losing streak
- For Pitt men’s basketball team, trouble in paradise
- Shooting victims live with bullets to survive, thrive
- Leak of grand jury information could cost Attorney General Kane
- Egypt’s beleaguered tourism industry bounces back