Player Spotlight: Allen Robinson
Needing a touchdown with 37 seconds left to play against Michigan, Penn State’s offense lined up in search of a big play.
And seemingly on point, freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg delivered a deep bomb down the left sideline. On a play that will forever live in Beaver Stadium glory and Penn State history, Nittany Lions’ star wideout, Allen Robinson, skied over a Wolverine defender to set up the game-tying score.
“The Catch,” as some around Happy Valley have dubbed it, was nothing new for Penn State fans that have watched the reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year, over the past two seasons. However, the rest of the country may have received their first glimpse as Robinson locked down the number one play on SportsCenter’s Top Ten.
As the Nittany Lions prepare to travel to Columbus, and look to become the first team in 20 tries to defeat the Urban Meyer-led Buckeyes, Penn State’s go-to receiver will be surely be drawing the attention of the Ohio State defense.
A native of Southfield, Michigan, Robinson was a high school teammate of former Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden. Unlike the highly touted quarterback, Robinson was lightly recruited out of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Penn State was one of a few Division 1 offers he received. Few would have believed that three years later, Bolden would be buried on the depth chart at another school (LSU), and Robinson would find himself scorching the Penn State record books.
This year Robinson leads the B1G with 7.2 receptions per game and ranks second in yards behind Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon (who recorded a B1G record 343 yards last week against Indiana).
With the full realm of Bill O’Brien’s offense not utilized in order to cater to a freshman quarterback, Hackenberg and Robinson have built a clear connection.
This week the Nittany Lions face the toughest defense they’ll see all season. But after going over the Ohio State defense thus far this season, Penn State may have a difference maker in their stud reciever.
Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis torched the Buckeye secondary for 207 yards on 10 receptions in the Badgers’ week five loss. Bradley Roby heads an experienced Ohio State secondary. Last week against Iowa, Roby was ejected for violating the new targeting ruleThe Buckeyes struggled defensively as sophomore corner Armani Reeves got beat for an 85-yard touchdown.
The point here is simple: if Christian Hackenberg has time to throw the football, Robinson will have a chance to show he’s as good as advertised. Draft guru, Mel Kiper, has Robinson as a top-three round pick already, and many scouts have him as one of the fastest rising receivers in the country. For the Michigan native, this is an opportunity to prove himself on a national stage.
Roby is recognized as one of the better cornerbacks in the B1G and from a scouts perspective, the matchup between the two will be closely watched. Robinson just went up against another of the B1G’s best when he lined up last against Michigan’s Blake Countess.
It’s no question that O’Brien and company have their hands full come 8 p.m. Saturday. But by the end of the night, look for a new name to emerge amongst the country’s elite.
Matt Lawrence is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism