Penn State Receiving Chart (Iowa): Clifford Injury Slows Receivers, But Receivers Let Roberson Down

By Nick Polak on October 12, 2021 at 10:15 am
Iowa junior defensive back Terry Roberts applies aggressive defense as Penn State sophomore wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith reaches for a pass in the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.
Bryon Houlgrave/The Register

Welcome to the Penn State receiving chart. Every 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.

As to be expected, Sean Clifford leaving the game was a hit to this group's productivity. However, the day could have potentially ended with a more prolific day in the box score and a win had a few of these names stepped up for backup Ta'Quan Roberson when he needed them.

Receiving Chart (Iowa)
Receiver Catch Rate Yards Drops Down (1/2/3/4) TD Hands+ Rating
KeAndre Lambert-Smith (WR) 5/7 61 - 4/3/0/0 - 126
Jahan Dotson (WR) 8/16 48 - 7/7/2/0 - 119
Parker Washington (WR) 3/5 26 - 1/2/2/0 - 143
Cam Sullivan-Brown (WR) 2/4 16 1 1/2/0/1 - 88
Brenton Strange (TE) 1/6 15 2 1/0/4/1 - 25
Noah Cain (RB) 1/2 9 - 1/0/1/0 - 150
Devyn Ford (RB) 1/1 3 - 1/0/0/0 - 150
Keyvone Lee (RB) 1/1 2 - 0/0/0/1 - 195
Theo Johnson (TE) 0/1 - 1 0/1/0/0 - 0

Hands+ Rating is explained below.

Dotson Streak Ends

For the first time since the Michigan State game in 2020, Jahan Dotson did not find the end zone for Penn State, ending his streak at six consecutive games with a score. It wasn't due to a lack of trying, as both Sean Clifford and Ta'Quan Roberson attempted to connect with the star receiver on deep balls, but it just was not to be. The one from Clifford, which was intercepted, was likely his best shot at a score on the day, but he seemed to have trouble tracking the ball in the air. It's possible this was due to the wind, which also contributed to his lack of ability to keep the ball out of the defender's hands.

Sullivan-Brown Plays Larger Role

Despite leading the team in receiving yards, KeAndre Lambert-Smith was not fully healthy for this one, after being forced off the field early in the game with what looked to potentially be an ankle injury. He would return, but Sullivan-Brown spelled him more often than usual. As a result, the redshirt senior got more chances than normal in this one, hauling in two grabs for 16 yards. Still, it will be his drop late in the game on a ball near the sideline from Roberson that will likely stick in his head as one that got away that could have changed the game.

The Drops

Speaking of which, let's talk dropped passes, folks. The Penn State pass-catchers had been able to avoid letting drops dictate the outcome of a game up until Saturday, but it's hard to say that they didn't at least play a role in the loss to Iowa. Brenton Strange had the toughest day in this regard, dropping two third-down passes from Roberson, both of which should have been caught and would have been first down conversions. With the primary Penn State goal of the offense at that time simply being to eat clock and slowly work down the field, those were absolute killers. The Sullivan-Brown drop we touched on above, and the last drop came via Theo Johnson. It would have been a great diving grab coming back to the ball, but it was still a catch he'll tell you he should make.

Receiving Chart (Season)
Receiver Catch Rate Yards Drops Down (1/2/3/4) TD Hands+ Rating
Jahan Dotson (WR) 43/64 494 - 29/25/9/1 6 137
Parker Washington (WR) 28/37 357 3 13/12/11/1 2 118
KeAndre Lambert-Smith (WR) 18/33 285 4 12/14/6/1 1 97
Brenton Strange (TE) 8/16 115 3 5/4/6/1 2 87
Theo Johnson (TE) 5/8 111 1 4/1/3/0 1 116
Noah Cain (RB) 9/12 66 - 3/6/3/0 - 126
Cam Sullivan-Brown (WR) 4/7 44 1 2/4/0/1 - 108
Keyvone Lee (RB) 4/4 35 - 1/2/0/1 - 136
John Lovett (RB) 4/6 32 1 2/4/0/0 - 100
Marquis Wilson (WR) 3/5 29 1 0/4/1/0 - 96
Tyler Warren (TE) 1/3 22 - 1/2/0/0 - 150
Devyn Ford (RB) 3/3 18 - 2/1/0/0 - 143
Winston Eubanks (WR) 1/1 2 - 1/0/0/0 - 150
Harrison Wallace III (WR) 0/1 - - 0/1/0/0 - -

Hands+ Rating Explained

The Hands+ Rating is a Roar Lions Roar-created statistic designed to rate a receiver's hands. It both rewards players for making catches with a higher degree of difficulty and punishes players for missing easier catches on a variable scale. Passes that are deemed uncatchable are also eliminated from the equation.

For reference, a player with a Hands+ Rating of 100 is exactly average – they've made every catch they're supposed to make, nothing more, nothing less. Above 100 is better, below 100 is worse.

It's worth noting that this stat starts to become a more reliable reflection of a player's production once they accumulate at least 10 targets.