CHAMPAIGN, Illi — The Nittany Lions are one of the top rushing teams in the country through three games, but don’t tell that to Kaytron Allen.
The true sophomore isn’t satisfied with Penn State’s rushing attack, and expects more out of the running back room. Allen is part of a two-headed monster in the backfield. Not to mention he and Nicholas Singleton form one of the best running back duos in the Big Ten.
Allen believes the offense has yet to hit its’ stride. And that’s a head-scratcher, considering the Nittany Lions are averaging 208.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the conference, and 22nd nationally. That’s why Allen is taking full responsibility in amplifying the rushing production.
The Virginia native carried the ball 19 times for a 103 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Delaware. Allen also found the endzone against Illinois.
However, he’s frustrated that Penn State hasn’t been able to break any long runs and explosive plays out the backfield. Yet and still he’s not overreacting to having just 54 yards on the ground against the Fighting Illini, considering they have a stout defensive line. That’s because he understands different defenses requires certain types of runners.
“Sometimes as a running back you got to get the hard runs,” Allen said. “And sometimes them hard runs are way better than those long runs for the team.”
Everything starts with the big boys up front. The offensive line has to be efficient at the point of attack, and get a good push to generate any momentum. Illinois was very disruptive, and limited Penn State to 164 rushing yards. Allen still likes how the seventh-ranked Nittany Lions were able to grind out some physical runs.
The 5-foot-11, 222-pounder takes pride in getting the tough yards. Allen isn’t afraid to run between the tackles or take it to the outside. It’s just that Illinois matched up better, with All-American defensive tackle JerZahn Newton and Keith Randolph. Those two defenders combined for 14 tackles Saturday afternoon.
“They played great, but sometime you just have to get down and dirty and get ready,” he said. “Them type of wins, and them type of runs, we’re there for it.”
Allen was proud of the way the offense responded in the second half. He felt those small gains started to turn into big chunks of yards as the game progressed. The former four-star prospect takes pride in getting stronger with every carry, which is beneficial in the fourth quarter. Having a tough, reliable runner, that a coach can trust will go a long way this fall.
So Allen just wants to keep the momentum going by running hard, blocking, and doing whatever the coaches ask of him. At the end of the day, Allen knows he’s a load for defenders to deal with for four quarters, and he always uses it to his advantage in the clutch.
“Them down and dirty runs, they add up, people get tired, worn down and they don’t want to keep hitting us.”