Quarterback Matt McGloin has started the last two games for Penn State and has seemingly emerged as the signal-caller coach Joe Paterno counts on late in games.
Despite that, Paterno maintains that Rob Bolden will continue to rotate with McGloin. The No. 16 Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) are off Saturday before hosting Nebraska on Nov. 12.
Bolden, who started the first seven games, played the second quarter in the team’s 10-7 win over Illinois on Saturday. The sophomore was 0-for-4 passing, fumbled twice and looked uncomfortable in the pocket.
Multiple times, Bolden received boos from the Beaver Stadium crowd. The current situation is a far cry from when fans rooted for the coaches to insert Bolden for McGloin against Alabama on Sept. 10.
“It wouldn't be fair to Bolden for me not to still consider him as one of the kids that we’re going to depend on,” Paterno said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “He’s worked too hard, he’s made too many sacrifices and he's got too much ability for me just because of one football game or two football games to say, ‘Hey, we're not counting on you.’ "
McGloin didn’t play his best game Saturday (9-of-24 passing for 98 yards with an interception), but he led the game-winning drive. The redshirt junior has completed 55.6 percent of his passes and thrown seven touchdowns to three interceptions on the season. Meanwhile, Bolden, whose role has decreased over the last month, has completed 43.1 percent of his passes and has one touchdown pass to four interceptions.
Paterno said Bolden has practiced well and “still has a great future” and again pointed out Bolden had a couple of passes dropped earlier in the season that could have made a difference.
"He's gotta be ready to go,” Paterno said. “We'll play him, I'm pretty sure we’re gonna play him. But again, we’ve got this week and next week to go back to some basic things and we’ll see what happens."