Notebook: Injury fails to slow Notre Dame WR Corey Robinson

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Corey Robinson’s glass isn’t just half full, it’s spilling over the rim with optimism.

In the days leading up to eight-ranked Notre Dame’s neutral-site football matchup with Syracuse at MetLife Stadium, the Irish sophomore wide receiver actually tried to convince himself and the media that the right thumb he broke and had surgery a little more than a week before the Aug. 30 season opener was actually a positive thing.

Maybe he’s on to something.

Robinson got off to a strong start with a career-high in receptions (6) in the first half alone, including three on ND’s first scoring drive of the game. The six catches, for 61 yards, exceeded Robinson’s combined output in ND’s first three games of the season by one.

He finished the 31-15 Irish victory with eight receptions for a career-high 91 yards.

Robinson has been wearing a cast since the surgery during games and practices, and finally expects to shed that in a couple of weeks.

“I had an X-ray (Tuesday) and it’s healing up really good,” he said, “so the bye week helped take some soreness off.”

Not that he has a low pain threshold.

Robinson can’t even remember how the injury happened. And when he started to feel soreness, he thought he had just jammed it.

“It’s just something you have to get used to, relearn how to catch a little bit, just fight through it,” he said. “Everyone’s hurting, everyone’s sore, so it doesn’t really matter. I just have to go out and play for my teammates.”

Trumbetti returns

Freshman Andrew Trumbetti made sure all the histrionics involved in securing 20 tickets for Saturday night’s game didn’t go to waste.

The defensive end from nearby Demarest, N.J., returned to action Saturday after missing the 30-14 win over Purdue Sept. 13 in Indianapolis because of chest and neck soreness and concussion symptoms. He has a five-yard tackle for loss of Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt on third down that ended an Orange drive and prompted a punt.

Trumbetti was dazed early in ND’s 31-0 romp over Michigan on Sept. 6 when he was blindsided on a block. But he passed all the concussion tests at that time and went back in the game.

“It’s not my decision, not even the trainer’s decision,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “We have two doctors and two fellows, one of whom is a specialist. It’s very strict protocol that has to be passed to go back in a game. And he did.”

Trumbetti started feeling bad after the game and did not pass the protocol, leading to his exclusion from the Purdue game.

Cam for Campbell

Notre Dame senior running back Cam McDaniel made the first cut down to 167, yes 167, semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, emblematic of the nation's best football scholar-athlete.

Up to 16 candidates will be named recipients of a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award. This year’s recipients will be announced Oct. 30, and one will be declared the winner of the Campbell Trophy Dec. 9.

Candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

Personnel matters

• Eighteen members of Notre Dame’s 69-man travel roster Saturday were freshmen. That includes seven who hadn’t previously seen action in the first three games: quarterback DeShone Kizer, defensive end Jhonny Williams, defensive tackle Jonathan Bonner, offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, punter Tyler Newsome, defensive tackle Jay Hayes and nose guard Pete Mokwuah.

• Senior Jarrett Grace, who hasn’t seen game action since Oct. 5, also made the trip. Grace was ND’s starting middle linebacker when he suffered four fractures in his right leg in a 37-34 victory over Arizona State.

Notable numbers

• Coming into Saturday night, Notre Dame had won 75 percent of its regular season games (65-20-4, .753) when it plays after a scheduled bye week. The Irish had an even higher percentage (32-7, .821) playing after a regular-season scheduled off week since 1984.

• Notre Dame started the game Saturday night as the last team standing in the 125-team FBS that had yet to allow a rushing touchdown. The team that shared that distinction coming into the day, Texas A&M, yielded three in a 35-28 overtime win over Arkansas earlier in the day.

Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt's seven-yard run earlier in the fourth quarter gave the Irish D its first and only blemish.

• In its first four games this season, Notre Dame has trailed for just 2:47, all coming during the second quarter of the Purdue game (Sept. 13). That 2:47 accounts for less than 1.3 percent of the elapsed first 240 minutes of playing time for the Irish in 2014.

• Saturday’s meeting with Syracuse and the one scheduled for MetLife Stadium in 2016 were both part of a four-game series the two school unveiled in 2009. ND’s commitment to play an average of five ACC schools a season wiped out the games scheduled for South Bend in 2015 and 2017.

ehansen@ndinsider.com

574-235-6112

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Notre Dame’s Corey Robinson runs the ball during the Notre Dame-Syracuse game on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)