Before this season, only two players in Penn State's distinguished football history had ever caught at least 60 passes in a season. Allen Robinson, who had a grand total of three career catches to his name, told himself he wanted to catch 70.
Privately, Allen Robinson set some big goals for himself prior to the season.
With two games left, that lofty goal isn't far out of reach.
"I set some goals for myself not knowing how well I would do this season," Robinson said, "trying to keep pushing myself."
With his next catch, Robinson, who leads the Big Ten with both 63 receptions and 786 receiving yards, will hold Penn State's single-season receptions record alone. Even in a high-volume passing offense like Bill O'Brien's, that's an impressive achievement for a player few outside the program knew much about prior to September.
"I would say it would mean a lot just knowing the progress I made throughout the spring and summer," Robinson said of the record. "It means a lot with all the great receivers that have come through here."
Robinson has never met O.J. McDuffie or Bobby Engram, who also made 63 catches in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and admitted Wednesday he doesn't know much about the former Penn State receivers. It wasn't a surprise, though, when he discovered he had tied their mark with his sixth catch of the game last week at Nebraska.
"I had been seeing stuff on twitter throughout the season," Robinson said. "I was pretty aware of it throughout the season. But it's not something i've been focused on. I just try to go out every game and make plays. I've been aware of it but I haven't paid it too much mind."
O'Brien's offense gives opposing defenses different looks each week, often utilizing different receivers each week. It's not uncommon for a player to have five catches one game and one catch the next. But even with changing game plans and defenses rotating more coverages his way, Robinson was able to produce. He has caught at least five passes in nine of 10 games this season, and his eight touchdown catches are four more than any other Nittany Lion has caught.
When he needs a big play or a key third-down conversion, quarterback Matt McGloin has rarely hesitated to look in Robinson's direction.
"As a quarterback, Matt has a lot of options," Robinson said. "It's not like there's someone he has to target or has to throw to. Matt has a series of reads and stuff he has to go through, and he gets me the ball when I'm open."
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