Former Western Hills star and UK football commit delivers breakout game for Nebraska

If Saturday’s frustrating loss at Mississippi State wasn’t demoralizing enough for University of Kentucky football fans, they got a chance to play a somber game of “what might have been” a few hours later.

Former Western Hills High School star Wan’Dale Robinson, who committed to the Wildcats last December before switching to Nebraska, had a monster performance for the Cornhuskers in their comeback win at Illinois, scoring the first three touchdowns of his college career in the 42-38 victory.

“We got one there. We got a real guy there. Not just from a talent perspective, but from a heart perspective,” Coach Scott Frost said, according to a report by the Lincoln Journal Star. “He wanted the ball. He wanted to take over that game; in a lot of ways he did. I’m glad he’s wearing scarlet and cream.”

With Nebraska trailing the Illini 21-7 in the second quarter, Robinson caught a short pass near the sideline and burst between two defenders, then crossed up a safety with a nifty stutter-step and juke on his way to the end zone for a 27-yard score.

Early in the third quarter on first-and-goal, Robinson cut behind his offensive line from the left slot, took a quick pitch from quarterback Adrian Martinez and knifed through the right side of the defense untouched for another touchdown to pull the Cornhuskers within 28-21.

Robinson sealed the win with a short touchdown run in the fourth quarter that gave Nebraska its first lead. The victory snapped an eight-game road losing streak for the Cornhuskers and moved them to 3-1 on the season.

“I’ve been anxious ever since I stepped foot on campus. I’ve been waiting for that moment ever since I decided to come here and play football at Nebraska,” Robinson said. “I came here to play a big role. I came here to help us win football games.”

Robinson finished with 89 rushing yards on a team-high 19 carries and caught eight passes for 79 yards.

Josh Sullivan has worked at the Herald-Leader for more than 10 years in multiple capacities, including as a news assistant, page designer, copy editor and sports reporter. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Lexington native.