His nonthrowing hand is in a cast, and his hip is killing him. So all Villanova quarterback John Robertson did Saturday afternoon against Penn was throw four touchdown passes in the first 19 minutes of the game.

After the fourth one, Penn coach Al Bagnoli stood as a picture of frustration, rubbing his forehead and looking down at the Franklin Field turf. It could not have made Bagnoli - facing Villanova for the last time before his retirement after this season - feel any better that Robertson was out by halftime.

"He's always been tremendously elusive," Penn's coach said later when asked about Robertson. "He's always been a kid who could win games with his feet. Now, I think he can win games pretty readily with his arm. He's the complete player. . . . And if you do defend things, you always have the default mechanism of him being able to run around and create things."

Across the board, Villanova was playing at another level up from Penn. The final score of 41-7 was reached before halftime. But Robertson's personal numbers are startling. Over the first half of his last two games, against Penn and James Madison, Robertson completed 30 of 37 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns. The next interception he throws will be his first this season.

Don't try to sell him as a product of his competition. He was the best quarterback on the field in Villanova's opener at Syracuse, when he ran for 115 yards and threw for 199.

"I think people underestimated all along how accurate he was and what kind of arm he had just because they hadn't see him do it as much, and most of the plays he was making were with his feet," said Villanova offensive coordinator Sam Venuto.

If Robertson were 6-foot-4 instead of 6-1, maybe he'd be doing these things at a place such as Pittsburgh or Rutgers - two schools that showed early recruiting interest in him at Paramus (N.J.) High but eventually dropped out of sight.

"You know what? The sky's the limit for him," Venuto said. "He has the necessary tools. . . . There's a guy who is playing for the Seahawks who is 5-11."

But there's only one Russell Wilson.

"Part of that, they didn't really have an open mind," Venuto said, referring to NFL decision-makers.

When Villanova coach Andy Talley calls Robertson a great college quarterback, he makes a point of saying he means all levels.

Robertson has always been accurate with his throws, Talley said. What's a little different is how he is working through the pass progressions.

"I think it's added a real quality dimension to his package," Talley said.

There's a good reason everyone has focused on Robertson's running. Last year, he ran for 1,405 yards and 20 touchdowns. The year before, he had 1,021 yards with 14 rushing touchdowns. The only other Villanova player to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons was Brian Westbrook, who did it three times.

Even with the hip pointer, Robertson isn't completely avoiding running, but he has only 68 carries for 240 yards and one TD so far this season.

Still mobile in the pocket, Robertson was proud of himself for sliding a couple of times Saturday instead of trying for extra yardage.

Asked about a comparison with an Ivy League quarterback who also runs, Bagnoli put a quick stop to that thought.

"I'm not sure there are too many Robertsons floating around," Bagnoli said. "At least, I hope not."