McGloin Makes His Case

Backup quarterback lets his arm do the talking in Penn State's blowout win over EMU. But the staff insists little has changed in the QB battle.

The opponent was Eastern Michigan, so that clouds the picture somewhat. But it certainly appeared that Matt McGloin took a giant step forward in Penn State's quarterback derby Saturday in Beaver Stadium.


Oh, perish the thought.

Never mind that McGloin went 14-for-17 for 220 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-6 victory, while Rob Bolden, again the starter, was 7-for-13 for 115 yards and a TD (as well as an interception).

And never mind that McGloin has completed 63 percent of his attempts this year for 421 yards, while not being intercepted, while Bolden is clunking along at 46.5 percent, for 388 yards, and has been picked off three times.

Or that McGloin has led seven TD drives this season, Bolden four.

Nope, they're both playing well. That's what coach Joe Paterno said after the game, the Nittany Lions' last tune-up before next Saturday's Big Ten opener at Indiana. Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said the same thing. So did offensive coordinator Galen Hall.

And a decision about a full-time guy does not appear imminent.

“I don't see what the rush is,” Jay Paterno said. “Everybody outside the program would like us to go ahead and say we have one guy over the other.“

Not happening.

“It's a good problem to have,” Jay Paterno insisted.

Even wide receiver Derek Moye, an avowed one-QB guy, tried to sound like he was on board with the prevailing wisdom.

The platoon, he said, “worked out pretty well today, somewhat well last week (in a 14-10 victory over Temple). Hopefully we'll just continue to improve, and get better each week.”

And as McGloin said, “Rob and I are getting used to it and the team is getting used to it. Of course I want to play, but you can't be miserable about it, or that's how you're going to play.”

McGloin threw the team's first TD pass of the season, a 27-yarder to fullback Joe Suhey, in the second quarter. He added a five-yarder to Moye later in that period.

Bolden then combined with Devon Smith for a 71-yard score in the third quarter, the QB's first scoring strike since last October at Minnesota, the game in which he later suffered a concussion. And McGloin again found Moye for a score Saturday, this time from 20 yards out, later in the third.

Bolden declined to grade his performance, saying only that he thought he did “pretty well” in moving the team, but wished he could have finished a few more drives. Nor did McGloin go out of the way to pat himself on the back.

Asked if he made any sort of statement with his play, he allowed that that might have been the case before adding, “We had some success today when I was in there, sure, but all the praise doesn't go to me. The line played great all day today, especially in the pass game. The wideouts made some great catches we really needed them to make.”

Especially the way the Eagles crowded the box and played one-on-one outside, daring the Lions to beat them over the top.

“We felt like as receivers we knew we should have a big day, with their defensive scheme,” Moye said.

Smith finished with a career-high 104 yards, on three catches. Moye's six receptions netted 65 yards, giving him 2,026 for his career and moving him into third on the school's all-time yardage list, behind Bobby Engram (3,026) and Deon Butler (2,771). Moye's two TD catches gave him 17 for his career, fourth on the all-time list behind Engram (31), Kenny Jackson (25) and Butler (22).

Again and again Moye was asked about those milestones after the game. Again and again he said how honored he was to be in such company.

“Coming here and playing with Deon, I knew what type of player he was and I saw what type of player he was,” Moye said. “I never really pictured myself or imagined myself being in the same top list with him.”

He was also asked about the seeming chemistry he has with McGloin. Seven of Moye's eight TD receptions a year ago came from him, and now he has two from him this year.

But Moye dismissed that as “just a coincidence.”

The notion all along has been that Bolden has a greater upside, but he has shown only flashes of his potential, as on the game-winning drive against Temple. And the other notion is that McGloin has maxed out, that against top-notch competition the one-time walk-on simply isn't up to snuff. Witness that lovely five-interception showing against Florida in the Outback Bowl. Witness the loss to Alabama, in which he went 1-for-10 for zero yards.

But the team certainly seems to respond to him. And that never seemed clearer than it did Saturday.

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