Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Penn State's McGloin almost has day to remember

Here was McGloin's opportunity to prove that he wasn't just a former walk-on, but a leader of a Big Ten team. And though he mostly performed under pressure, the end result was flat.

Penn State's McGloin almost has day to remember

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With one minute remaining in Saturday's game, and the reality of Penn State losing to Ohio University of the MAC Conference beginning to sink in, Matt McGloin stood alone on the sideline.

He rolled his neck around to the left, then the right. He figeted with his equipment, especially his white terry-cloth wristband. He clinched his fist. 

When the final whistle blew, McGloin was the first Penn State player to jog off the field and into the tunnel. The rest of the team followed him, slowly. They walked.

For much of the game, it shouldn't have been this way. McGloin looked sharp in the first half, completing 16 of 26 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. By the third quarter, McGloin amassed 204 yards. The senior only recorded two, 200-yard games all of last season.

"We were on the same page offensively in terms of pass protection, routes, formations," McGloin said. "We did a good job."

This was the first time in McGloin's Penn State career that he was given a full vote of confidence as the No. 1 quarterback. This was also the first time he was working off a playbook as complex and diverse as the one Bill O'Brien introduced to the Nittany Lions. (According to tight end Gary Gilliam, the summer play book weighed five pounds). 

So here was McGloin's opportunity to prove that he wasn't just a former walk-on, but a leader of a Big Ten team. And though he mostly performed under pressure, the end result was flat. 

The Lions were scoreless in the second half, McGloin had an interception, and Ohio stormed back for an improbable victory to start the O'Brien era off on a sour note. 

"We got beat," McGloin said. "We can't be upset for too long. We have to learn from it, we have to keep improving. It's a long season."

McGloin's final statline was 26 for 48 passing with one interception, two touchdowns and eight of 16 third down conversions.

One bright spot was McGloin finding a new No. 1 target. It was no secret McGloin loved throiwng to Derek Moye last season. Now sophomore Allen Robinson inherits the role of McGloin's go-to guy. The duo displayed chemistry as Robinson finished the day with nine catches on 97 yards.

-Emily Kaplan

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About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 30 years, covering covering Penn State football, Villanova basketball and other college sports, along with golf and the Penn Relays. This is his seventh season on The Inquirer’s Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976-84.

Joining Joe this season is Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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