Herald-Whig

Truman State's Robbins shines in homecoming

Truman State junior running back Malique Robbins, a Quincy High School graduate, returns the opening kickoff of Saturday’s game against Quincy University at QU Stadium for 21 yards, setting up the Bulldogs’ first scoring drive in a 31-7 victory. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 30, 2017 12:55 am Updated: Oct. 30, 2017 1:37 am

The schedule doesn't afford Malique Robbins many opportunities to come home.

In fact, he can plan on it only every other season.

So when the Truman State University football team made the trip Saturday over Highway 6 to take on Quincy University at QU Stadium, Robbins was afforded his first and last chance to play a game in his hometown.

He took full advantage of the moment.

Robbins, a Quincy High School graduate, made the first touchdown reception of his career in the second half of the Bulldogs' 31-7 victory, hauling in a 33-yard pass from Jaden Barr that extended the lead at the time to 28-0 midway through the third quarter.

"It's awesome," Robbins said of the opportunity to make such a play in front of friends and family. "Definitely a long time coming. I just wanted to go out there and perform and do what I could for the 'Dogs. I wanted to help us have success."

The 5-foot-8, 183-pound junior running back did a little of everything to ensure that.

He finished with eight carries for 47 yards, two receptions for 38 yards and one kickoff return for 21 yards. He added one tackle on special teams.

"I'm willing to do anything I can for the team," Robbins said.

He nearly grabbed that first touchdown reception on the Bulldogs' opening possession of the third quarter.

Truman State was leading 21-0 at the time when Robbins ripped off a 22-yard run on the first play of a 6-play drive and caught a pass on second and goal from the 6-yard line that gained 5 yards. On fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, Robbins was stuffed in the middle of the line as the QU defensive front got great penetration.

"I missed an opportunity to get one, so I had to bounce back," Robbins said.

The Bulldogs gave him that chance.

After forcing the Hawks to go three-and-out, Truman State's Eric Yakle blocked a punt to give the Bulldogs possession at the QU 33-yard line. On the next play, Barr found Robbins coming out of the backfield, and he raced to the right front corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

"It's something I wanted to do," Robbins said. "It was something I was hoping to do."

The Truman State coaches had the same thing in mind.

"All week, (Truman State coach Gregg Nesbitt) was saying, 'Expect to score. Expect to score,'" Robbins said. "That's what you look to do every game."

It's something Robbins grew accustomed to in high school.

A four-year varsity player who graduated in 2014 as the Blue Devils' all-time leading rusher with 3,524 yards, Robbins was a special mention all-stater and three-time All-Western Big Six Conference selection who ended his career with 41 touchdowns.

He also played a central role in the Blue Devils' lone playoff victory in school history. Robbins rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the 40-20 victory at Rock Island in 2013.

The numbers haven't been as spectacular in his collegiate career.

Robbins transferred to Truman State after a redshirt season at Northwest Missouri State. He rushed for 247 yards through five games in 2015 before missing the rest of the season with an injury. He had 206 yards in 10 games last season but played a pivotal role on special teams.

His touches have been limited this season, but he's scored a touchdown in each of the last two weeks. Truman State won both games.

"It's a step forward and a confidence booster," Robbins said of the back-to-back victories. "You want to make the most of the opportunity."

It's exactly what he did Saturday night.