Robinson Reacts to Penn State Thriller

The Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt back was impressed by all parts of his visit to University Park for the Nittany Lions' 43-40 quadruple overtime victory over Michigan.

For some recruits, the week in, week out performance of a college football team weighs heavier on their mind than its end-of-season record. Take Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt running back Andre Robinson.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound four-star back was admittedly down on Penn State after its 20-point loss to Indiana two weeks ago. But it didn't stop him from coming to University Park on a planned unofficial visit for Saturday's 43-40 quadruple overtime upset of Michigan.

He played Saturday morning, meaning he and his mother, Jennifer, had to quickly drive up Route 322 to reach University Park before kickoff. It was a trip he was ultimately very glad he made, one that helped even out his view of the Lions after their loss to the Hoosiers, and shoot them right back up in his mind.

"I came to the Ohio State game last year, and that was a full house," Robinson said. "I thought Michigan would be similar to that, and a big game, and it lived up to its expectations. That's why I picked that game, even though it was hectic.

"I was a little iffy on them after last week. Teams lose games they're not supposed to all the time. But [Saturday night], they showed heart in that atmosphere, and that was awesome. They beat a Top-25 team in that atmosphere, which was awesome."

The junior arrived at Beaver Stadium between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and was immediately greeted by Penn State running backs coach Charles London, who gave him a brief tour of the facilities. A chat head coach Bill O'Brien, a part of the trip the back said was a major highlight.

"An honor" is how he described the brief talk with O'Brien, who reminded him how well he sees Robinson fitting into Penn State's offensive scheme. O'Brien made specific note of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass block, two attributes Robinson said he's always had.

The meeting with London was no luck of the draw matter, either. The 15th ranked running back by, Robinson clearly sits in the upper echelon of players Penn State covets for its Class of 2015. To land him, relationships will be important.

"It was pretty cool. I'm starting to get a good relationship with Coach London, and he and Coach O'Brien told me how I would fit well in their program and that they want me really bad. That was pretty nice," Robinson said. "It's an honor for him to take time out of his pre-game to talk to me, and he said he liked how I was a downhill runner and made people miss."

The head coach added that he could envision Robinson doing a lot in the Penn State offense, making note of the way the program uses tailback Bill Belton as a receiver. Speaking of Belton, of the many moments Robinson could have picked as the highlight of the game portion of his visit, what O'Brien did with Belton -- and the run game in general -- pleased him the most.

The sequence that stands out, he said, was the decision to run Belton with Penn State facing a do-or-die fourth-and-1 on its fourth overtime possession. Robinson admits he was thinking, like many undoubtedly were, that O'Brien should elect to kick a tying field goal. By not doing so, the coach showed the visiting back two things that intrigued him.

First, he showed the belief he and his staff have for its rushing attack, something any back desires to see. But it also showed him that the head coach wants to be a winner, something O'Brien relayed in his post-game news conference when asked about the logic behind his decision.

"That's awesome to have that much faith in your run game. I like that they ran on first and second down in overtime, threw to get a first down on third down, and then went back to the run on first down," Robinson said. "That was awesome how Coach O'Brien attempted to win the game. He wanted to win the game, and he had faith in his run game to do it."

Northwestern is the latest program to extend an offer to the junior, who will see Penn State again when it invades the Horseshoe in Columbus for an Oct. 26 clash with Ohio State. He also has visits planned to Notre Dame this coming weekend, followed by stops at Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech later in the season.

An offer from the Wildcats held special meaning to his mother, because she is a teacher and fully aware of the academic standard at Northwestern. It was extended by Wildcats' head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Whether Robinson returns to State College again this fall is still up in the air. It's safe to say, though, that even if he doesn't, he was left with a lasting impression of the program.

"It was awesome. That was one of the best football games I've seen in a while, and to be there, it was awesome," he said. "The fans after Belton's touchdown … everyone went crazy, high-fiving each other.

"It was an awesome atmosphere in Beaver Stadium. The guys played great, fought the entire game, and I really liked that."

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