Penn State wideout Robinson has breakout game

Posted: September 16, 2012

After Penn State players gathered by the student section to sing the alma mater, and after they rang the victory bell for the first time this season, wide receiver Allen Robinson knelt in the end zone.

He was the only player still on the field.

The sophomore prayed silently for a moment, then jogged into the tunnel.

"Saving the best for last," one student shouted down to the field. Robinson grinned and high-fived the fan.

Indeed, in Penn State's 34-7 win against Navy (0-2) on Saturday at Beaver Stadium, Robinson was the best player for the Nittany Lions (1-2).

The Michigan native cemented his spot as quarterback Matt McGloin's favorite target, amassing 136 yards on five catches, including three touchdowns.

In all of last season, senior Derek Moye caught three touchdown passes. That was a team high.

"We saw it this spring that [Robinson] could be a really, really good player," wide receivers coach Stan Hixon said. "It's just a matter of him getting the opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity."

Robinson, who is averaging eight catches per game, benefitted from the transfer of Justin Brown (35 catches in 2011).

He's also benefiting from a little bit of luck. Robinson's third touchdown on Saturday, a 25-yard strike in the third quarter, was intended for freshman Trevor Williams. The ball tipped off Williams' face mask and floated in the air.

"It was the longest two seconds of a quarterback's life," McGloin said.

But there was Robinson, in the end zone.

"It hung in the air for a moment, and I was able to get under it," Robinson said, smiling.

Penn State's future opponents will probably take notice of Robinson's breakout performance.

"I'm telling him right now, telling my group, that you have to come ready to play," Hixon said. "Because he's going to get doubled, so other guys are going to have to get open."

Robinson worked hard in the offseason to develop chemistry with McGloin. The two spent extra hours at the Lasch practice facility running routes.

Robinson now has 24 catches on the season. The Penn State sophomore record is 48, set by Bobby Engram and Deon Butler.

Penn State's opponents aren't only going to scout Robinson, they'll probably try to recruit him, too. In the offseason, dozens of Division I coaches likely will call the wide receiver. He should bring his talents to a team with a shot at a bowl game or even a championship, they'll say.

Robinson was asked about that possibility on Saturday. He was adamant about staying.

"It's not really about winning the Big Ten championship, or playing in a bowl game," Robinson said. "A lot of guys who transferred, they might not even make it to a bowl game."

At Penn State, Robinson formed a brotherhood with his teammates. He can also learn under two coaches - Bill O'Brien (Patriots) and Hixon (Bills and Redskins) - who have NFL experience.

At this pace, the NFL doesn't seem too far out of reach.

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