When practices were open many moons ago, fans and media alike saw receiver Robert Johnson do some really good things. And that was progress, because as a freshman coaches often spoke his name in conjunction with a string of expletives.
What we had not seen of Johnson, who’s now a third-year sophomore, is production on game day. He had four catches for 42 yards last season, and entering last week’s Middle Tennessee State game, he had four for 40 yards this year. So he was ahead of the pace, at least.
Against MTSU, Johnson broke through. He made two catches for 36 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown – the first of his career – to give MSU a 31-3 lead in the third quarter. He had to dive to his right and made a nice snag.
“It was like I got a monkey off my back when I did it,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to score touchdowns in this league. I’m just grateful that I got it. Just got to move on; that was last week.”
So what made it click for Johnson? Confidence, which he gained after a 13-yard reception in the second quarter, another diving effort that moved the chains on a third-and-9.
“Once I caught that, I was ready to get into the game,” he said.
Coach Dan Mullen said Johnson possesses a “wow” factor at practice, and we’ve seen glimpses of that before. Now that it’s showing up on game day, MSU suddenly has another offensive weapon it can count on.
“The fruits of his labor are coming to fruition for the kid,” receivers coach Tim Brewster said. “He’s outstanding, he really is. I believe in him. He does a great job run blocking, and he’s got some good things in front of him.”
Here’s some video of Johnson from Tuesday night.