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Franklin Doesn’t Specify Allen’s First-Half Absence

In Week 4 against Central Michigan, Kaytron Allen had 111 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. 

In the first half of Week 5’s win over Northwestern at Beaver Stadium, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week had zero yards and zero touchdowns on zero carries. 

The week before, Allen rushed for his first two college touchdowns in Penn State’s 41-12 win at Auburn.

Throughout the first half, when it became apparent that Allen’s absence would be for more than just one or two drives, Penn State fans, writers, etc., wondered what was going on.

Allen came into the game with 217 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries, good for six yards per carry.

So why wasn’t Allen, who has already established himself as a capable college running back not even halfway through his freshman season, part of the Penn State offense?

Why was Keyvone Lee so active after not getting a touch against Central Michigan?

The fact that it was raining and the thought that rain leads to better days for running backs only complicated the matter.

Well, it turns out Allen was just fine physically. 

On the first play of the second half, Allen ran the ball. 

On the second play, he ran it again.

On the third play, quarterback Sean Clifford threw an incomplete pass. 

The intended target? Allen. 

Allen ran it on the next two plays and finished the drive with eight rushes for 37 yards, highlighted by converting a third-and-seven on the ground. 

He ended up running it on 10 of Penn State’s first 15 second-half plays and finished the half– and, for that matter, the game– with 86 yards and a fumble on 21 carries, good for a 4.1 YPC. 

Allen proved again in the second half that he’s good. 

So why wasn’t he used in the first half? 

After coach James Franklin’s postgame press conference, we still don’t know. 

“There’s a lot of times, and I know everybody has different approaches with these things,” Franklin said. “I don’t get into injuries, and I don’t get into internal decisions, and I know sometimes that puts you guys (media) in a tough position, and I apologize for that. But again, I would rather keep those decisions internal. 

“Whether its injuries, whether it is behavior modification, whatever it may be, rotations, whatever it is, we’re going to keep those internal. I know that’s tough on you guys, and I apologize for that, but I just don’t think it’s anybody else’s business for those decisions to be announced publically.”

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