Robinson’s Three Touchdowns Lead Penn State To First Win of Season
Bill O'Brien and the Penn State Nittany Lions (1-2) got the win they have been waiting for since the first day of fall camp, defeating the Navy Midshipmen (0-2) in a 34-7 rout on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
"In many ways, it was a long time coming," O'Brien said after the game. "All the hard work they've put in this week, it finally paid off.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Matt McGloin and the rest of the Penn State offense opened the game with a three-and-a-half-minute drive, capped off by a two-yard touchdown reception by true freshman tight end Jesse James.
It only took McGloin seven plays to engineer the first scoring play for Penn State. A 45-yard hook up with wide receiver Allen Robinson put the Nittany Lions inside the Navy five-yard line and they scored two plays later.
After Navy could not move the chains on their first possession, McGloin found Robinson for 45 yards again. This time, Robinson was able to juke out a Navy defender and cruise into the end zone to give his team a 14-point lead.
Robinson and McGloin wouldn’t stop there, as they connected for two more touchdown passes. Robinson’s last touchdown came from a tipped pass off the hands of wide receiver Trevor Williams that found its way into the arms of Robinson in the middle of the end zone.
“Sometimes you gotta get lucky,” McGloin said with a laugh. “Fortunately, Trevor couldn’t come down with it and Allen was just in the right place at the right time."
Robinson finished with five receptions, 136 yards and three touchdowns, which are the most for a Nittany Lion receiver since Graham Zug in 2009.
Through his first three games, Robinson has totaled 24 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns, the most in the Big Ten conference. O’Brien said that he wasn’t surprised at the numbers of his sophomore receiver, but made it clear that it is due to more than just looking to get Robinson the football.
"He plays a position that is always in a formation where he has a lot of chances to be singled up," O'Brien said. "He's singled up a lot and that's part of the read. It's not like we're saying, 'Hey, let's throw to Allen Robinson all the time.' Allen knows that and Matt knows that."
McGloin tied a personal record of touchdowns with four while completing 13 passes to eight different receivers. The senior quarterback was complemented nicely by the running attack of Michael Zordich and Curtis Dukes.
Zordich ran for a career high 50 yards on 11 carries while Dukes ran for 47 on 11 carries. O’Brien noted that he had talked with Zordich in the past about his role on the team and was constantly reminded by the senior running back that he in fact could still run the football.
"Michael and I have a lot of conversations about his role on the football team," said O'Brien. "He has always reminded me, 'Coach I used to run the ball in high school.' With the injuries there we felt like he was a guy that we wanted to get on the field a little bit more."
Defensively, Ted Roof and his defense forced four turnovers for the second straight week including a 74-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by sophomore linebacker Mike Hull early in the fourth quarter.
The Nittany Lions forced three Navy fumbles and one interception by quarterback Trey Miller. Miller and the Midshipmen offense were held scoreless until the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter when running back Gee Gee Green scored on a 12 yard run to make the score 34-7.
Senior linebacker Michael Mauti led the defense with 12 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. Redshirt freshmen Anthony Zettel and Deion Barnes combined for three more sacks for Penn State.
Penn State will now move on to in-state opponent Temple this weekend at Beaver Stadium, but O’Brien stressed the importance of getting their first win against Navy.
"Winning cures a lot of things," he said. "It also breeds confidence. So when the guys go out there and start fast and have confidence ... when they lifted all those weights and practiced the way we practice, there's a reward for that."
Senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who drenched his head coach with Gatorade after the game, agreed with O’Brien. He now believes his team has the confidence to get their second win this week.
“Just to get one game under our belts, one win under our belts, now we feel like we're just going to get it rolling,” Hill said.
Penn State and Temple are slated for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Beaver Stadium. That game will be broadcast live on ComRadio. Tune in at psucomradio.com.
Mike Esse is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism and is a ComRadio Sports Director. To contact him, email email@example.com.