Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno gave some recent encouragement to the parents of reserve quarterback Matt McGloin, who hadn't been any closer to the field than the ball boys for most of the season.
"You never know when that chance is going to come," Paterno said.
McGloin's chance came Saturday when the Nittany Lions visited Minnesota, and the former walk-on made the most of it.
McGloin entered the game for injured starter Rob Bolden in the second quarter and threw a pair of touchdown passes to help lead Penn State to a 33-21 win, snapping a two-game losing streak.
"He's one of those guys who really wants to make a play," running back Evan Royster said. "Being the backup, it's tough to come into a game and not take the deep routes and stuff. That first one was a beautiful pass and you couldn't ask much more of a guy coming off the bench like that."
The pass Royster referred to was a 40-yard heave on a post pattern to Derek Moye, who hauled it in for a 42-yard touchdown to give Penn State a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter. McGloin hooked up with Moye again in the second half on a 9-yard fade route for a second touchdown.
It was an afternoon of redemption for McGloin, who was neck-and-neck with Kevin Newsome for the starting job all spring and most of the summer but lost it to Bolden, a true freshman. McGloin hadn't seen the field since the opener against Youngstown State, and his bomb to Moye was his first completion of the season.
"It's tough," McGloin said. "At that point, you start doubting yourself. But the people that are close around you keep reminding you how hard you worked and how far you came, and today, it showed."
--Penn State coach Joe Paterno, the all-time major-college victories leader, is two wins shy of 400 after Saturday's 33-21 win at Minnesota.
--Senior RB Evan Royster is 30 yards shy of the school's career rushing record of 3,398 yards.
--The Nittany Lions have won 14 of their last 19 games following a bye.
--PK Collin Wagner has made at least one field goal in eight consecutive games.
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Rob Bolden -- He missed more than half the game with an apparent concussion, but before that, Bolden got Penn State's floundering offense turned in the right direction, completing 11 of 13 passes and directing two early touchdown drives -- two more than Penn State had in its first two road games this season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: S Malcolm Willis -- The redshirt freshman began the game as the nickel back but took over at free safety when Andrew Dailey was lost to injury. Willis was excellent in run support, making nine tackles, and should see more time in Penn State's injury-depleted secondary.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not my first concern right now. We've still got five games and we're looking to just win those games. ... I just want to stop hearing about it, have it behind me and kind of move on." -- RB Evan Royster, on being 30 yards away from Penn State's career rushing record.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Penn State got its intermediate passing attack going again. The Nittany Lions gave QB Rob Bolden time to operate, and he found wide receivers Brett Brackett, Justin Brown and Devon Smith for quality gains. Freshman running back Silas Redd gave the offense a boost with some big runs in the fourth quarter, when the offensive line finally started to open some holes in the running game.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Nittany Lions continue to allow too many yards on the ground and are vulnerable to accurate quarterbacks because they cannot apply a consistent pass rush. Penn State continues to get off to slow starts in the running game; the Nittany Lions amassed only eight yards on their first six carries against the Big Ten's worst run defense.
--SS Andrew Dailey had to leave the game in the second quarter after re-injuring his shoulder, which had knocked him out of the Illinois game two weeks earlier. He was replaced in the lineup by redshirt freshman Malcolm Willis.
--Jordan Hill, who played defensive tackle for the first six games of the season, started at defensive end after moving there in practice during the week. He finished with six tackles, more than any other Penn State lineman.
--QB Rob Bolden was injured on a second-quarter carry and did not return. Team officials did not give an official reason for Bolden's absence but head coach Joe Paterno said Bolden would undergo concussion testing when the team returned to State College.
--LB Gerald Hodges returned to the lineup for the first time since the Alabama game on Sept. 11, when he suffered an injury to his left leg.
The Monday TSX Files: Penn State
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