UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Though a defender pulled against his upper body and the official threw a flag for pass interference, Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson caught the ball. Never mind that the ball was thrown high and difficult to catch to begin with, he caught it.
It was Robinson's third touchdown Saturday, and it might not have been his most impressive. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 197 yards, playing his best yet in what has been a breakout season.
"They single-covered me a lot, and I made a lot of plays," Robinson said.
Robinson's other touchdowns came on a 53-yard screen pass in which he spun around a defender and on a 26-yard reception in which he caught a high pass over defenders.
The timing of his impressive moves meshed with the story he had told the team Friday night. At dinner, Robinson talked about his high school basketball career. He played at Orchard Lake St. Mary's in Michigan and told of a game in which he scored 30-plus points.
"He was talking about alley-oop dunks and stuff like that," coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's got good hand-eye coordination and can jump."
Robinson said his basketball past had likely helped with his progression, particularly being able to leap and hold his ground against defensive backs. The rest of his development is well-known: He and quarterback Matt McGloin worked extra over the summer and by the time wide receiver Justin Brown left in the fall, nearly everyone on the team predicted Robinson would take over the top receiving spot.
He has done more than that. His 10 receptions Saturday give him 73 for the season, more than any receiver at Penn State has had in one year. If he gets 107 yards in the final game against Wisconsin, Robinson will set the team's single-season receiving yards record. Right now he has 978 yards, and the sophomore wants more not just this season but in the future.
"I still have a long way to go," he said.
Zach Zwinak had his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game Saturday, gaining 135 yards on 29 attempts. He also fumbled twice, and one of them wasn't even forced out.
"That's something he has to get better at," O'Brien said. "He's a heck of a player. We do strip drills and put him through the blaster but at the end of the day the player has to do it. That was a bad fumble ... and he knows that it was. I'm going to be hard on him because I think he's a heck of player."
Mark Dent: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @mdent05.