I don’t make up the rules, but it says here that even in losing causes, players of the game must be named. OK, I totally made up the rules a couple weeks ago after the Syracuse game, but I’m still not bending. Despite a hard fought 34-31 loss at Beaver Stadium last night to the UCF Knights, here are our Penn State players of the game.
Offense: Allen Robinson, 9 catches 147 yards, 1 touchdown
It might be easy to overreact after a loss, but it was another impressive performance all around on offense, with 31 points and 455 yards of offense on the day. Allen Robinson was again the best player on that side of the ball for the Lions. Really, the only way UCF was able to slow down a guy whose NFL draft stock seems to go up weekly was to tackle him, which they managed to a couple times, drawing pass interference flags. However, one of those flags came on the lone touchdown pass of the day, where Robinson out-leaped the defender, who was interfering with him, making a big time catch on the fade pass from Christian Hackenberg.
Looking down the schedule, it’s hard not to get excited about what Robinson is going to be able to do. If you love a good receiver-corner battle, Robinson vs. Bradley Roby of Ohio State should be appointment viewing.
Honorable Mention: Christian Hackenberg, Zach Zwinak
Defense: Malcolm Willis, 5 tackles, 1 interception
I am not really sure anyone really deserves recognition on the defensive side, and I’m positive the coaching staff and players would agree. But if anyone deserves a tip of the cap, it’s senior safety Malcolm Willis. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles had gone over 220 attempts between interceptions before Willis picked him off in the 2nd quarter on Saturday night. That pick was one of just two stops the PSU defense made. The secondary did struggle, but I put a big part of that on the lack of pressure the defensive line and linebackers were able to get on Bortles.
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