Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington Shine In Penn State’s Frustrating Loss
In a night full of offensive struggles for No. 18 Penn State football (0-2), there were a few bright spots.
Both Jahan Dotson and true freshman Parker Washington emerged as star receivers for the Nittany Lions on Saturday. Despite a slow first half, Dotson and Washington made electrifying plays to help keep Penn State in the game.
Dotson had a monster night against the Buckeyes, hauling in eight catches for 144 yards and three show-stopping touchdowns. His performance was highlighted by a one-handed catch that’s sure to make Sunday’s Sportscenter Top 10 Plays.
Dotson’s eight catches were double Washington’s, who was Clifford’s second-most targeted receiver. His 12 targets were also easily a team-high, as Washington’s four was next on the stat sheet. Dotson touched on his milestone performances after the game.
“[It proves] that I can make plays when I get the ball in my hands,” he said. “That’s my goal every time I touch the ball or get an opportunity to touch the ball, to make a play…I got to capitalize on opportunities.”
It was constantly capitalizing on these opportunities that helped Dotson have such a successful night, which he said was inspired by his late grandmother.
“I approach that [ball] as a million dollars, that’s a million dollars in the air. If you want it, you go get it,” Doston said. “Every time the ball’s in the air, that’s a chance to make a name for yourself, to put the team on your back… it’s a million dollars, and we gotta go cash in.”
“It’s good to see Jahan stepping up, so we’re going to have to build on that,” head coach James Franklin said after the game.
Dotson added he’s not allowed to get one-handed reps in during official practice, but will often do so “off the record” with Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith.
Although Washington didn’t have the show-stopping night that Dotson had, the young receiver showed great promise and made some impressive plays. He scored his first career touchdown against Indiana but made a big leap in most other areas of his game Saturday.
Washington hauled in all four of his targets for 73 yards, good for more than 18 yards-per-catch. He only had two receptions for 12 yards in week one in Bloomington. Dotson noticed his impressive performance as well.
“[Washington] has so much talent,” Dotson said. “I watch him every day at practice, and I’m just amazed…he’s amazing. Today was kinda like a little preview, you guys got a little preview of what he can do with the ball in his hands. He can make plays, kid’s a baller.”
Young players like Washington and Lambert-Smith are one of the main reasons Dotson is optimistic about the offense going forward. Lambert-Smith caught two passed for 18 yards Saturday night.
“They have a lot of football left in front of them and I can’t wait for them to prove themselves.” Dotson said.
The Nittany Lions’ receiving corps will try to build upon this breakout performance next Saturday when it hosts Maryland. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-0 all time against the Bulldogs.
The Blue-White Game returned to its traditional format in 2023.