Sharp-sighted Kaytron Allen powers ground game with first 100-yard performance
Penn State used a 14-point second half to pull away from Central Michigan and move to 4-0 on the year.
It was a hot start offensively, as the Nittany Lions scored a pair of touchdowns on their opening two drives. After that, however, the blue and white stalled on that side of the ball.
That was, until true freshman running back Kaytron Allen heated up.
Allen didn’t start the game, that title belonged to fellow freshman Nicholas Singleton who struggled compared to his past performances finishing with 3.5 yards per carry.
With the absence of Keyvone Lee in this game, that elevated Allen’s role and he took full advantage of it.
Allen made his presence felt late in the second quarter with the game tied as he bolted up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown run to help Penn State end the first half up 21-14.
Once the quarters changed, the freshman only got stronger with a 37-yard run to end the third quarter and two rushes of over 10 yards in the fourth.
In terms of being a guy who can break off long runs, Penn State coach James Franklin mentioned that’s nothing new for Allen.
“He's got a really good understanding of how to set blocks up,” Franklin said. “When you know when you're able to do that, and you have the toughness that he has as well, he can consistently get eight to 12 yards, which is what we need.”
In total, Allen finished with 111 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries — a total of 8.5 yards per carry.
The ability to make the most out of his touches speaks to Allen’s vision, which quarterback Sean Clifford accredits as an important part of his game.
“That's the key with Kaytron Allen is his vision,” Clifford said. “He's extremely gifted and he's got a lot of room to grow and he knows that. He comes to work every single day, he takes criticism, he takes the competition, I think that he, Nick, Keyvone and Devyn [Ford] just bring a lot of energy to the whole team.”
Prior to this game, Allen had been used a good amount in the Nittany Lions four-man running back rotation, but never had double-digit carries in a game.
Allen scored his first two career touchdowns last week in Penn State’s 41-12 victory over Auburn.
Both he and Nicholas Singleton dominated in that game and the two represent both the present and the future for the Penn State offense.
After the Nittany Lions had been without a 100-yard rusher since late in the 2020 season, the two have given the blue and white exactly that in each of the last three games.
That kind of consistency is precisely what Franklin is looking for in his run game moving forward.
“We gotta make sure that we can consistently run the ball against whoever we play — whether it's on the road in the SEC, or whether it's home nonconference,” Franklin said. “
We got to find a way to consistently be able to run the ball to stay on schedule and be as efficient as we possibly can and explosive as an offense.”
Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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