Star Penn State WR will get more chances

PENN STATE

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Allen Robinson set the record on one of the worst days of the season. Not only did Penn State lose, 24-10 to Minnesota, his performance did not reach the standards he has set so far this year.

Robinson had seven catches for 63 yards. It was enough for him to reach 1,106 yards, surpassing Bobby Engram's single-season Penn State record of 1,084 yards, but his total yards were about half his average. He'd been accumulating 130 yards per game.

There were two reasons for the shortage of catches by Robinson. The first was the wind.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he wanted to run the ball given the conditions and after running back Zach Zwinak had success, he stuck with the plan. In the first three quarters, Penn State attempted 10 passes. In the fourth, it attempted 15.

About half of those passes were for Robinson. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw it to Robinson three times in the first half and eight times in the second half -- there were five incomplete passes to Robinson.

He was a primary target of Minnesota's defense. Defensive coordinator and acting head coach Tracy Claeys said they had prepared for the pass. When Penn State continued to run the ball, he was surprised.

"I really wasn't very happy in the first half with the two tight end, two running back running game," he said. "... I guess the positive of it was it kept them from throwing the ball."

And when Penn State did throw the ball, Minnesota was going to make sure Robinson wasn't going to burn them.

"You could count [the plays] on one hand that there wasn't two people on him," Claeys said. "Even when we didn't have somebody directly over the top, we had somebody spying him inside-out."

Robinson's worst day happened to be the offense's worst day under O'Brien, at least in terms of scoring and passing. The 10 points were a low in his nearly two seasons at Penn State, as were the 163 total passing yards.

Robinson has accounted for about 29 percent of the team's overall offensive yardage this season. On Saturday, his 63 receiving yards were about 18 percent of Penn State's offense. The game illustrated why it's healthy for Robinson to carry so much of the offense. When he doesn't, Penn State is in trouble.

"We weren't able to get him the ball enough today probably," O'Brien said. "It's disappointing, and we have three games left, and we have to continue to find ways to get him the ball."

Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05.


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