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Robinson's antics earn him ejection

LOGAN — Kevin Robinson caught the punt, sidestepped a pair of North Texas tacklers and found a seam straight upfield wide enough for two cement trucks and a Volvo.

Sixty-six yards later, the Utah State freshman returner was pinned against the sideline and made another nifty juke to cut loose, then dove the final four yards for the TD to put the Aggies up 13-3.

That dive to the end zone was also the end of the line for Robinson, ejected for his second excessive celebration penalty. His final line: two returns for 114 yards and a touchdown.

The loss of Robinson was followed by a 31-23 loss to North Texas that marked the Mean Green's 20th straight Sun Belt Conference victory.

Utah State coach Mick Dennehy was demoralized by the defeat, saying it was one of the toughest losses he's been in.

While USU has been steamrolled by the Mean Green before, what made this one so difficult was that the Aggies had their chances. Trailing 24-20 in the third quarter, USU quarterback Travis Cox fumbled at the 1-yard line and watched TJ Covington turn a sure six points into a 100-yard TD return. With Robinson out of the game, USU's Jerome Dennis broke the ensuing kickoff for 60 yards to set up an Aggie field goal that kept Utah State within eight.

Dennis came up big again after an exchange of possessions by downing a Leon Jackson III 59-yard punt inside the North Texas 1-yard line.

Jackson, a backup quarterback, has been handling the punting duties since starter Ben Chaet went down with a sprained ankle last week at Troy State. He averaged 54.7 yards on three punts in the game. USU's defense then forced a punt, giving the Aggies great field position, but their chance to tie fell to the grass with a fourth-and-goal Travis Cox pass from the 1-yard line that glanced off Trent Nate's hands in the end zone.

"We lost some guys and that hurt us a ton, " Dennehy said. "I thought they battled so valiantly to overcome that it was unbelievable."


E-mail: RBurton@desnews.com