McGloin Proves Himself in Victory

The Nittany Lion quarterback had his share of naysayers heading into the Michigan game. He quieted them with his performance on the field.

The most important play quarterback Matt McGloin made in Penn State's 41-31 win over Michigan Saturday night at Beaver Stadium came courtesy of his legs, not his right arm.

On Penn State's first possession of the night, McGloin and his teammates were faced with a third-and-10 from their own 29-yard line. The sophomore quarterback dropped back to pass, made his first read, his second read, and his third read.

Nobody was open.

“There was nothing there and I saw a lane open up so I took off,” McGloin said. “I thought I was going to get tackled but I saw the sticks and got the first down. As a quarterback you don't really like to run inside the hashes, so it worked out well.”

McGloin's timely run served as the impetus behind Penn State's 14-play, 71-yard scoring drive that marked only the second time the Nittany Lion offense scored a touchdown on a game's opening series this season.

From there McGloin let his right arm steal the show, as the Scranton product threw for 250 yards and a touchdown and added another score on the ground. Teammate Evan Royster rushed for 150 yards, becoming Penn State's all-time leading rusher in the process, and the defense fought off a late second-half comeback attempt by Denard Robinson and the Michigan offense.

The story of the night was the offense though, as it continued its incredible turnaround, scoring a season-high 41 points, giving the unit 84 points in the last two weeks; it had put up just 65 points in the five games before that.

“The way we were moving the ball, it made the game a whole lot more fun,” junior wide receiver Derek Moye said. “I was smiling the whole game because we were having so much fun out there scoring.”

Leading 14-10 halfway through the second quarter, McGloin and the offense began to put their stamp on the evening, as the unit would score on each of its next four possessions. During that time McGloin completed 10 of 14 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown, giving Penn State a 38-17 lead it would not relinquish.

McGloin's strong play may have come as a surprise to many people, but quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno was not one of them.

“I got a lot of e-mails during the week with suggestions for what we should do (at quarterback),” Paterno said. “I didn't answer any of them because I knew what we had with Matt. I had no doubts about him. His confidence definitely rubs off on you.”

A former walk-on, McGloin's innate belief in himself is not borne from the praise of college football pundits. On ESPN's Saturday morning college football preview show, College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit emphatically guaranteed Michigan would knock off Penn State because the Nittany Lions would not be able to move the ball with McGloin at quarterback.

Herbstreit's candid comments did not sit well with Penn State's quarterback.

“Matt was pretty pissed off,” Moye said. “He said to the guys, 'I'm going to show him tonight.' He definitely did.”

McGloin admitted the criticism irritated him.

“I took it as disrespect,” McGloin said. “It was upsetting because he's never even seen me play. But after the game I told an ESPN reporter to tell (Herbstreit) that I'm gunning for him -- I'm not though, it was all in fun.”

On ESPN's late college football wrap, Herbstreit admitted the error of his way, saying he had “some fun” at McGloin's expense on GameDay before adding with a salute, “Matt, congratulations to you.”

Despite McGloin's strong performance, Paterno said following the game that freshman quarterback Robert Bolden would return to the starting role next week if he is healthy enough to play.

Coaches and players did their best to diffuse any talk of a quarterback controversy, with Paterno declaring the situation a luxury and stating that most teams would love to have just one guy who can play as well as Bolden and McGloin.

Regardless of whether he starts or returns to the bench next week, the man they call, “Brett” -- nicknamed after Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Brett Favre because of his gunslinger mentality -- knows that as long as he believes in himself, opportunities like Saturday's will continue to present themselves.

“I was able to show all the doubters out there that I can do it,” McGloin said. “I knew this was going to happen and it was only a matter of time when (until I would start). I just had to be prepared and I definitely was today.”

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