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Nevada's Ault has had his fill of USU's Robinson

Utah State return specialist Kevin Robinson celebrates his punt return for a touchdown Saturday in the 31-28 loss to Nevada.
Utah State return specialist Kevin Robinson celebrates his punt return for a touchdown Saturday in the 31-28 loss to Nevada.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

LOGAN — One game a year trying to defend Utah State's Kevin Robinson is enough for Nevada's Chris Ault.

Robinson, who leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 208.3, recorded 183 yards against Nevada in the 31-28 loss to the Pack, but he nearly single-handedly won the game by himself.

He recorded a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown to give the Aggies a 21-14 lead, and he nearly broke off a kickoff return in the second half.

"Kevin Robinson is a great returner and he showed it, but I'm fed up with it," the veteran Nevada coach said after the Pack's three-point win Saturday at Romney Stadium.

"As hard as we work on the kickoff cover and as much as we talk about it, he shouldn't have done so well. Allowing those yards on kick returns are the kind of things that make you lose football games."

The Pack (3-4, 1-2) intentionally kicked the ball short on kickoffs to avoid putting the ball in Robinson's hands. The Aggies, however, moved Robinson to the middle of the kick-return formation (25-yard line) and gave him the freedom to field the ball anywhere on the field.

As a result, the Aggies had the average starting field position from their own 39, which was their second-best starting field position of the season. Against Hawaii the Aggies' average start was from their own 49.

Robinson fielded all but two kickoffs and fielded all three Nevada punts for a total of 153 yards and a touchdown.

Robinson also leads the WAC and is second in the nation in punt return yards (21.43). Troy's Leodis McKelvin leads the nation at 23.93. He is second in the league in kickoff returns (29.8) and 12th in the nation.

He is one of three players in the nation with two kick returns for a touchdown (joining Felix Jones of Arkansas and Marcus Herford of Kansas). Robinson and McKelvin are the only returners in the nation with three returns for touchdowns.

MOVING ON UP: Robinson needs just 253 all-purpose yards to overtake Emmett White as the school's all-time leader in that category. White finished his stellar career (1998-2001) with 5,872 yards. Robinson currently stands at 5,620 all-purpose yardage.

At his current pace of 208.3 yards per game, he will finish with 6,662 career yards.

MARSHALL, MARSHALL, MARSHALL: Because Utah State has been in the WAC three years, Robinson's freshman numbers don't count toward league records. If they counted he would be fifth just ahead of San Diego State's Marshall Faulk in career all-purpose yardage.

Instead he had 4,357 all-purpose WAC yards, which puts him just outside of the Top 15.

At his current pace, he will finish with 5,352 career all-purpose WAC yards, which would land him at No. 10.

SPEAKING OF ROBINSON: The Aggies should take a lesson from Nevada: give the ball to your best offensive weapon.

Nevada's Luke Lippincott, who ranks 20th in the nation in rushing at 113.14 yards per game, rushed the ball 36 times for 241 yards in the win over the Aggies. He also had four catches for 20 yards, giving his a game total of 261 all-purpose yards.

At the end of the first half, he had just 10 carries for 53 yards and three catches and his team trailed 21-14.

In Nevada's opening drive of the second half, which resulted in a touchdown, Lippincott rushed the ball 10 times for 73 yards.

In the second half he had 27 touches for 189 yards.

For the game, Robinson had a total of 10 touches (two rushes, two catches and six returns for 183 yards).

Robinson lined up twice as the quarterback and had two rushes for 12 yards.


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com