Penn State Football: Washington Catch Gives Him First Touchdown of the Year and Confidence to Go with It – Statecollege.com

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Penn State receiver Parker Washington catches the football. Photo by Paul Burdick, StateCollege.com
Penn State receiver Parker Washington has long been known for his ability to make acrobatic catches. As vocally silent as his former teammate and receiving brethren Jahan Dotson, Washington has long let his play do the talking for him.
But heading into Saturday night’s clash against Minnesota, Washington had put together a mixed bag this season. With over 50 yards receiving in four of the Nittany Lions’ six games so far this year, it wasn’t as though Washington had not left his mark, but neither he nor receiver Mitchell Tinsley had established themselves as the true No. 1 wideout option for quarterback Sean Clifford.
And while that’s not inherently a bad thing, Washington had yet to even catch a touchdown pass this year. That was until a 35-yard leaping grab by Sugar Land, Texas native put Penn State ahead 24-10 early in the third quarter as the Nittany Lions started to pull away from the visiting Gophers. By the end of the night Washington had hauled in seven receptions for 70-yards on just eight targets.
“It was good to make a big play in the game,” Washington said afterwards. “We worked so hard in practice and I feel real confident each week and I got my number called today and it just felt good to make that play.”
Confidence was a big buzzword for Penn State following a 45-17 win over Minnesota, which fittingly nearly matched Penn State’s 41-17 losing margin the week earlier whens Washington recorded just three catches for 33 yards against Michigan. While confidence won’t make the play for you, the Nittany Lions will need all the confidence they can get their hands on heading into an upcoming clash with No. 2 Ohio State next weekend at Beaver Stadium. A win is a win, but a win when everyone plays well sure does help the space between the ears.
“I was just confident I would make that play,” Washington added. “And just being able to do that for our team and get great momentum with that. It was just exciting. And I was grateful for that.”
Of course, making big plays does more than just boost an individual player’s confidence; it does much for the team around him. Penn State would go on to score touchdowns on each of its following three drives in the third quarter while Minnesota would score just seven more points the entire game. In total, Penn State would score six touchdowns over the course of eight drives in the middle portion of the game. Not all Washington’s doing, but certainly a testament to a team feeling good about itself. A somewhat docile passing attack this season broke its own trends as it registered nine passing plays of more than 15-yards on Saturday night.
“Seeing my brother make that type of catch and make those plays out there, it pumps me up and, you know, pumps up the rest of the offense,” Tinsley said after the game. “It definitely brought energy to our sideline when he made that play.”
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