Penn State Receiving Chart (Indiana): Sanders Shines Through the Air While Drops Haunt Polk, Hippenhammer

By Nick Polak on October 23, 2018 at 8:30 am
Penn State Wide Receiver K.J. Hamler
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Penn State receiving chart. Each week we'll show you what happened when each receiver was targeted in the most recent game. There may be a few differences here and there from the stat lines you see on ESPN, Sports Reference, or elsewhere, but I'll try to make sure to explain each of those differences below.

Sigh. The drops have returned, with five more coming on Saturday against Indiana. To make matters worse, one of those drops turned into an interception (yes, I counted that Hippenhammer play as both a drop and a pick).

Receiving Chart (Indiana)
Receiver Catch Rate Completion % Yards Drops Pass Breakups TD/INT
Miles Sanders (RB) 6/7 85.7% 54 - 1 0/0
K.J. Hamler (WR) 4/6 66% 27 - - 0/0
Juwan Johnson (WR) 2/4 50% 72 1 - 0/0
Pat Freiermuth (TE) 2/4 50% 32 - - 1/0
Cam Sullivan-Brown (WR) 2/3 66% 33 - - 0/0
Brandon Polk (WR) 0/3 0% 0 2 1 0/0
Tommy Stevens (LION) 2/2 100% 2 - - 0/0
DeAndre Thompkins (WR) 1/2 50% 13 - - 0/0
Mac Hippenhammer (WR) 0/2 0% 0 2 - 0/1
Jahan Dotson (WR) 1/1 100% 10 - - 0/0
Nick Bowers (TE) 0/1 0% 0 - - 0/0
  • The biggest surprise this week is clearly the sudden involvement of Miles Sanders in the passing game. Previous to this week, Sanders had 58 receiving yards on nine receptions all season. He nearly doubled his receptions and his receiving yardage against the Hoosiers. For all of the questionable decisions Ricky Rahne has made over the past few weeks, making Sanders a priority in the passing game was an excellent one. He doesn't have Saquon Barkley's explosiveness, but he's extremely difficult to bring down in the open field, and getting him the ball in space should be a priority moving forward.
  • As far as the more traditional receivers, K.J. Hamler and Pat Freiermuth once again led the team in targets, though this time they were joined by Juwan Johnson atop the leaderboard. The freshmen aren't going anywhere.
  • Johnson had a long 59-yard catch and run on a crossing route over the middle that accounted for most of his yardage. Still, it was nice to see him finally catch one of those passes (especially after he dropped one earlier in the game) and use his size and speed to make a play.
  • After Johnson left with an injury, Sullivan-Brown stepped up in his role and played well. He showed nice body control on a deep ball over the middle and looks like he's developing into a name we could hear a lot more from in the future.
  • Brutal days for Mac Hippenhammer and Brandon Polk. Both had back-breaking drops, with Polk's worst being a drop on a beautifully-thrown ball on the run from McSorley that would have been a first down (not that the dropped touchdown was much better), and Hippenhammer's being a ball that deflected right off his hands to an Indiana defender for a pick. Both of these guys have been gifted golden opportunities to earn a lot of playing time given the unit's struggles this year, but neither showed that they were ready for more responsibility on Saturday.
  • Jahan! Hi! Nice catch and run for the true freshman, picking up a first down on his only target of the game. At this point, it would be surprising to see his redshirt burned, but if the staff decides to give him a shot outside the numbers (since Hamler has the slot locked up), his name could be an interesting one to track.
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