Many uncertainties filled the build-up to Penn football's season opener against Ohio Dominican, but one thing was never in doubt: that Justin Watson would lead the offense.
The Quakers' star senior wide receiver helped save Penn's skin in his team's 42-24 defeat of the Division II visitors who gave the hosts more trouble than expected. His performance outshone all others throughout Penn Athletics over the weekend, earning him DP Sports' Player of the Week.
Regardless of the quarterback situation on Saturday, Watson came to Franklin Field ready to run routes, run the ball and even return the ball as needed.
He did all three — and to great success.
As senior Will Fischer-Colbrie struggled to get going in his debut, Watson provided a constant option for the new quarterback, acrobatically snagging multiple balls that were inaccurately thrown but still within his reach.
Likewise, when sophomore Nick Robinson subbed in for Fischer-Colbrie at the start of the second quarter, Watson immediately gave Robinson a gift, running the perfect route to give Robinson a 59-yard touchdown pass in his first ever snap for the Quakers.
His presence in the first half was crucial for Penn, as his touchdown kept his team in the game — the Quakers trailed 10-7 at halftime. As they dominated the Division II Cougars in the second half, he only shone brighter, but his performance in the first half might have been even more important for the team.
In the end, the senior wide receiver registered eight receptions for 134 yards — an average of 16.75 yards per catch — and scored two touchdowns. He also picked up a few yards on special teams for the Red and Blue.
With nine more performances like this, excitement will only build in anticipation of the NFL Draft in April. Watson could end up a mouth-watering prospect to coaches in the big league.
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