Saturday, September 15, 2012
Allen Robinson catches three TDs vs. Navy
By Josh Moyer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Allen Robinson stared at his hands last week when they failed him against Virginia. Twice he dropped the ball, and he mentioned all week he needed to maintain his focus.
Consider that mission accomplished.
Allen Robinson didn't hang on to this pass, but he did catch three TDs against Navy, the first Penn State player to accomplish that in three seasons.
On Saturday, the sophomore became the first Penn State player in three years to haul in a trio of touchdown catches. He finished with five receptions for a career-high 136 yards -- and enough big plays to splice together about a two-minute highlight tape.
"I just go out there and try to play football," Robinson said. "And Matt [McGloin] was able to hook up with me early."
Matt McGloin found Robinson twice in the first quarter on a pair of 45-yard passes. On one throw, McGloin found the 6-foot-3 wideout 20 yards downfield. Robinson juked one defender, cut inside and sprinted another 25 yards for the score.
He averaged 27 yards a catch. Before the game, Penn State's longest pass traveled 30 yards.
"Usually if you're 6-3, you're not going to run a 4.3," receivers coach Stan Hixon said, "but with his route-running, he can create separation."
The 201-pound wideout entered this season as an unheralded player with just three career receptions next to his name. He's now fast becoming one of best receivers in the Big Ten.
Entering Saturday, he led the conference in receptions -- outcatching the No. 2, Purdue's O.J. Ross, by half-a-dozen. Robinson now has 24 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns.
Robinson said he spent the offseason working with any quarterback who would throw to him -- starter Matt McGloin, backup Steven Bench, QB-turned-TE Paul Jones -- to rehearse his route-running. Because of the constant repetition, Robinson said he made the jump from above-average route runner to a great one.
Cornerback Stephon Morris said a few weeks ago Robinson was his favorite receiver to line up against. He had trouble picking up the wideout's tendencies when he ran routes.
"I told you," Morris said Saturday." He's going to be hard to cover."
Robinson's final big play might have been the most impressive. Late in the third quarter, McGloin tossed a slightly high spiral over the middle to Trevor Williams. The true freshman deflected the ball into the air, and Robinson pulled down the volley about five yards deep in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown.
That was his third touchdown, the most for a PSU receiver since Graham Zug hauled in three in 2009 against Michigan.
Robinson was told his phone would likely be ringing every few minutes from coaches hoping for an end-of-the-season transfer. But he said going elsewhere isn't a consideration.
"I'm definitely here with Coach O'Brien and Penn State," he said. "It's not really about playing in the Big Ten championships or playing in a bowl game."