Birmingham, Ala.--Carrying the ball 27 times for 126 yards and a touchdown in Auburn’s 31-10 win over the Memphis Tigers on Wednesday at Legion Field, running back Jovon Robinson earned MVP honors while facing his hometown team. Definitely fired up about facing Memphis in a bowl game, Robinson said for him it was the confirmation of coming full-circle from Auburn signee to junior college back to finishing off his first year on the Plains in style.
“It’s definitely been a blessing,” Robinson said. “I have been able to be influenced by a lot of people along my journey. This game was special because it was personal. I know a lot of guys that played for Memphis.
“They came into the game as a tough opponent and as a rivalry for me, but I stuck to my bearings and what I knew and listened to what my head coach had to say. The results were we came out on top.”
Grinding out the tough yards and also making several great cuts to turn a short run into big yardage, Robinson’s play was one of the few bright spots for an offense that turned the ball over three times and capitalized on several big special teams plays in the win. Coach Gus Malzahn said it was fun to see his big back have such an impact on a bowl win for the Tigers.
“I’m proud of him,” Malzahn said. “He protected that football extremely well. He did a great job on the perimeter and had some tough yards.
“Really, the one that stood out to me is from the three-yard line or the four-yard line (four-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter) and we kind of got stuffed but he kept his feet moving and the offensive line drove them. That was one of the big plays of the game to me.”
Finishing the season with 639 yards on just 117 carries with three touchdowns, Robinson had a huge finish to his year following a very slow start. With just 20 yards the first six games of the year on only four carries, he has rebounded to show why he was one of the top junior college running backs a year ago.
Battling through nagging injuries along the way this season with Peyton Barber leading the way with 1,016 yards rushing, Robinson answered the ball when called upon this season and he’s excited to get a win to send the seniors off on a positive note.
“I think my performance throughout the last part of the season is a testament to my work ethic during the summer and the spring and during the winter,” Robinson said. “I experienced a slight injury and it kind of hindered me a little bit, but I felt like I had the support of my teammates and I pushed through the adversity and was able to be successful.”