Allen Robinson did his best to haul in what would’ve been this third touchdown pass of the afternoon but wasn’t able to get his feet down in bounds.
But Robinson paid the price for trying, coming down out of the sky to land fully on his back in the second half at Memorial Field on Saturday.. He pulled off his helmet and was on his back for about a minute and a half. Robinson walking off the field without help — and eventually returning to the game — was a welcome sight for Penn State already down its No. 2 man in the wideout rotation.
Brandon Felder sat out the loss to Indiana with an ankle injury. After the game, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said Felder’s ankle was still swollen after he hurt it in practice and was unsure if he would be available next weekend when Michigan comes to Beaver Stadium.
“I think any time you lose a starting receiver it probably has a little bit of an impact,” O’Brien said. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football for us and he wasn’t out there. But I thought Geno (Lewis) made a couple of plays out there, did some things and that was good to see.”
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Felder’s route-running and stability he offers the offense as an experienced target capable of extending possessions were sorely missed.
After Robinson’s output — the junior caught 12 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns — no other receiver on the roster came close. Eugene Lewis and Richy Anderson combined for nine catches for 64 yards while tight end Kyle Carter added six grabs for 79.
“Brandon’s a great route-runner, a great player,” quarterback Christian Hackenberg said. “He’s a senior so he’s been here for a while so he brings a lot of knowledge to the game.”
Anderson and Lewis both started in place of Felder who started three of Penn State first four games and entered the Indiana game second to Robinson with 16 catches for 135 yards.
Hull returns, but Wartman limited
Linebacker Mike Hull returned and said despite the loss, felt good physically after the game. Hull, who is dealing with an unspecified knee injury, said he feels between 90 and 95 percent healthy.
Hull, along with linebacker Glenn Carson, led Penn State with 10 tackles. Meanwhile, linebacker Nyeem Wartman was limited however as he is dealing with a shoulder injury. Stephen Obeng-Agyapong started in Wartman’s place.
It’s probably not a record Christian Hackenberg wants under the circumstances but one that will go in the books either way.
Hackenberg broke Kerry Collins’ school record for most attempted passes in a game. Collins attempted 54 against BYU in 1994. Hackenberg threw the ball 55 times while the Nittany Lions played from behind most of the afternoon against the Hoosiers.
Hackenberg also set personal records for completions (30), yards (340) and touchdowns (3).
Meanwhile, Penn State fell to 4-3 away from Beaver Stadium under O’Brien. Alex Butterworth’s 52-yard punt in the second quarter was a season-high for him.
Robinson was one catch shy of the single-game record of 13 set by Freddie Scott who did most of his work in short yardage with 113 catches against Wisconsin in 1995.
Youthful push continues
Penn State brought 14 true freshmen to Bloomington in addition to another 14 redshirt freshmen. Among them, true freshman Jordan Smith, Devin Pryor, Von Walker and Chip Chiappialle played on special teams.