It sure is nice to have Chop Robinson back. Robinson was forced to exit the Ohio State game early, and missed the following weeks against Indiana and Maryland. While Adissa Isaac and Dani Dennis-Sutton had no trouble holding down the fort and keeping the pass rush at an elite level, Robinson’s presence is too powerful to go unnoticed. He fits the old adage of “making everyone around him better” by his sheer presence, while forcing offenses to rethink their gameplans every time he steps on the field.
Robinson’s value was on full display and the defense yet again led the team to victory, as the Nittany Lions pulled away for a 27-6 win against Rutgers on Senior Day. His day was even bigger than the mighty impressive stat line after a day of racing past and through blockers and blowing up plays – five tackles, two TFLs, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry.
Robinson is a rare mix that has helped forge the Nittany Lions into one of the most difficult defenses to face during his past two seasons in Happy Valley. His most obvious and noticeable talent is that he is nearly impossible to block. Robinson’s combination of strength and quickness sees him regularly flying off the line, going through or around even the best tackles on the schedule who are on their way to long careers at the next level. He also has the discipline and awareness to stay home and help stuff the run game – something Penn State has done better than any team in the nation this fall.
His tendency for momentum-shifting plays has also led to teams to willingly become one-dimensional, even with a lack of success on the ground. Rutgers learned this the hard way in a key moment on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights were leading a drive in the hopes of catching up as they trailed just 13-6 in the closing moments of the third quarter. After picking up a pair of first downs, Rutgers found itself inside Penn State territory with momentum at their back. Then came Chop.
On a second-and-six, Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt dropped back to pass, but before he could make a read, Robinson came flying in from the blindside with a forceful hit that sent the ball flying out of his hands. Penn State recovered, and the offense capitalized a few plays later with a Kaytron Allen touchdown to pull ahead for good.
Robinson will be eligible to enter the NFL Draft following the season, and with several mock drafts placing him as a potential top 10 pick, it seems likely Robinson is down to his last one or two games in a Nittany Lion uniform. Maybe there’s some giant NIL package that could persuade him to stick around for another year, but he’s probably well on his way to starring on Sundays with several All-Pro seasons on the horizon.
Here’s to enjoying The Chop Show at least one more time on Friday.