Jovon Robinson comes out of the pile to help Auburn to victory
By Charles Goldberg
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ― Somewhere in there, somewhere in that mass of humanity, was Jovon Robinson, ever-so-slowly pushing ahead with a football, surrounded by his offensive lineman with the same purpose in mind.
Go four yards.
It seemed to take awhile, but Robinson and Auburn made it. Robinson scored Auburn's last touchdown, had a game-high 126 yards, won MVP honors and helped the Tigers beat Memphis 31-10 in the Birmingham Bowl on Wednesday.
It was a day for Auburn running backs. Robinson was the MVP and Peyton Barber went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season.
"It was definitely a blessing," Barber said. "I've got to thank my offensive line because they've come through this year. Without them, it wouldn't be possible."
Barber gave Auburn its seventh straight season with at least one 1,000-yard rusher as he became the third different one in three years, following in the footsteps of Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne. Barber finished with 1,016 yards rushing.
But it was Robinson who received the most carries this bowl day as he helped Auburn beat his hometown team, finishing with 20 carries, and a touchdown, partly because he came out of that slow-moving scrum.
"He kind of got stuck," said coach Gus Malzahn, "but kept moving his feet and the offensive line drove him into the end zone. That was one of the huge plays in the game."
It helped Auburn to the win, and gave Robinson a special reason to smile. He had beaten his hometown team.
"Today's game was special because it was personal," Robinson said. "I know a lot of guys that play for Memphis. They came into the game as a tough opponent and rivalry for me. I stuck to what I knew and listened to what my head coach had to say. The results came out in our favor."
Robinson played in the opener, was hurt and really didn't reemerge until the eighth game of the season. He overcame the slow start to finish with 639 yards rushing.
"I think my performance over the last half of the season is a testament to my work ethic during the spring, during the summer and during the winter. I had a slight injury that kind of hindered me a little bit. I feel like I had the support of my teammates and pushed through the adversity."
"At the end of the season," quarterback Sean White said, "he's been a workhorse. He's been an unbelievable running back. He's such a patient runner, but, at the same time, when he hits it, he's so physical. He's got the perfect balance in how he runs."
Other Birmingham Bowl stories
The game story
Kevin Steele hired as defensive coordinator
Gus Malzahn happy with the win
Jeremy Johnson provides the spark
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) December 30, 2015
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine