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Franklin: Penn State Wanted to Shine for Chop Robinson

Jaylen Reed and Chop Robinson share an embrace. (Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now)

Penn State DE Chop Robinson made the trip to Maryland and warmed up with the team in full uniform, but could not play.

At this time a year ago, there would have been a good bit of pregame drama surrounding Robinson’s status.

But starting this year, Penn State and every other Big Ten team have to provide an injury report two hours before game time.

PSU listed Robinson, who got hurt against Ohio State two weeks ago and missed the next week’s game against Indiana as OUT didn’t list him on its travel roster. The program needed to get a waiver to take Robinson with them to his former school and home state.

Before the game, Robinson was visibly emotional about not being able to play in his former home stadium.

During the game, Penn State pounded Maryland, 51-15, and allowed -49 yards rushing if you include five sacks of Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa.

After the game, Robinson– who was now in sweatpants and somehow obtained a Maryland Gold Out T-shirt, threw it to a Penn State fan.

In coach James Franklin’s postgame presser, he explained why Robinson went through warmups despite everybody knowing he wouldn’t play.

“Being able to get him out, being able to run and be able to get some movement stuff without any contact, is part of his kind of protocol to come back,” Franklin said. “So that’s why we were able to do that.”

Franklin also said the team’s decision to take Robinson to Maryland was about more than just a Homecoming.

“We traveled him from a rehab standpoint,” he said. “There’s certain things when you have certain injuries that you have to do to work back and be able to get back on the field. So being able to get him out, being able to run him, being able to get some movement stuff without any contact is part of his kind of protocol to come back. So that’s why we were able to do that. As you guys know, in the old days, that may be in a little bit of like trying to kind of hide whose healthy and who’s not. But we have to turn that information, so we weren’t kind of doing that.”

Penn State’s defense is better with Robinson, who’s widely projected to be a first-round 2024 Draft pick. Last season against Maryland, he had two sacks. Not having that presence and still dominating was encouraging for Franklin.

“He had a huge game last year, Franklin said. “Not having one of our most explosive players on defense and still being able to play the way we did tonight (was big).”

Overall, Franklin feels Robinson motivated Penn State even though he didn’t get to play at Maryland.

“We wanted to play well not only for Penn State but also for Chop,” Franklin said. “We wanted him to understand that we were playing well for him.”

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