Share This Page

Penn State notebook: Robinson will be marked man

| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 11:22 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) glides across the goaline on a 53 yard 2nd quarter touchdown pass Indiana Hoosiers cornerback Greg Heban (9) trails during their game at Beaver Stadium in University Park on November 17, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Penn State wideout Allen Robinson is a lock to be a first-team All-Big Ten pick after a season in which he has shattered a record that had been shared by former All-Americans Bobby Engram and O.J. McDuffie and is poised to go over 1,000 yards receiving.

The sophomore will be a marked man Saturday when Wisconsin visits Beaver Stadium — and well beyond Penn State's final game of the season.

Penn State players are allowed to transfer before the start of the 2013 season and be eligible right away. That means the Nittany Lions coaches will spend the offseason recruiting high school players and trying to convince young stars such as Robinson to stay at Penn State.

“I'm not really concerned with that right now,” Robinson said Saturday after catching 10 passes for 197 and three touchdowns in a 45-22 win over Indiana. “When the time comes, I'll answer questions about that. I'm just trying to go out next weekend and get a win for the seniors.”

Robinson and five of his teammates formed the “Supa Six” before the start of the season, and all of them with the exception of running back Bill Belton have shined in 2012.

Defensive end Deion Barnes, who leads Penn State with six sacks, and Robinson figure to be the most coveted underclassmen. Barnes, a redshirt freshman, has said he plans on staying at Penn State as long as defensive line coach Larry Johnson is there and the program stays competitive.

Keeping Robinson, whose 73 catches broke the single-season record previously held by Engram and McDuffie (63), will go a long way toward keeping Penn State competitive as it weathers NCAA sanctions that include a four-year ban on postseason play and a loss of scholarships.

The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder leads the Big Ten in catches (6.6 per game) and receiving yards (89.4 per game). And Robinson would help ease the transition from Matt McGloin to Steven Bench or one of the quarterbacks that Penn State signs in its 2013 recruiting class.

“He's going to be one of the best wideouts probably in the nation come next year,” McGloin said.

Confidence booster

It looked like Zach Zwinak's day might be over Saturday after he lost a fourth fumble in as many games and then heard about it from an incensed Bill O'Brien on the sidelines. But the redshirt sophomore's banishment to the bench didn't last even a quarter.

Zwinak re-entered the Indiana game later in the third quarter, and the 6-1, 226-pounder scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

“That's huge,” Zwinak said of the confidence shown in him by O'Brien and running backs coach Charles London. “Every time I mess up, I think I'm done.”

Zwinak hasn't messed up too much since emerging as Penn State's No. 1 running back.

The Maryland native has rushed for 821 yards and five touchdowns despite getting just three carries in Penn State's first three games.

The only thing that has tempered his ascent is the fumbling issue that O'Brien has said Zwinak needs to correct.

“Watching the film, I'm not protecting the ball exactly the way I should,” Zwinak said. “I've got to grow as a player and learn a lot from it. I've still got another game to fix it.”

Extra points

Penn State was flagged for sideline interference Saturday for the second time in as many games, and O'Brien took the blame for the penalty. “I was in the white and the (ref) ran into me, so that's on me.” ... Eighteen Penn State players have made their first career start this season. ... Tight end Jesse James (South Allegheny) had a career-long 42-yard reception against Indiana.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.