McGloin welcomes pressure in comeback
October, 6, 2012
By Josh Moyer | ESPN.com
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesMatt McGloin's touchdown run gave the Nittany Lions the lead in the fourth quarter.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Matt McGloin gathered his teammates into a tight huddle, while many in the crowd stared at the scoreboard -- Northwestern 28, Penn State 17 -- and figured the game was over.
The fifth-year signal-caller swore he wasn't nervous. He didn't yell, didn't raise his voice. He just looked into his teammates' eyes, and they could tell from his look the game was far from over.
"I don't know about you all," Kyle Carter remembered him saying, "but I love this."
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesMatt McGloin threw for 282 yards to help Penn State rally past No. 24 Northwestern.
McGloin welcomed the pressure. "There was no panic," he said. "We had a full quarter to play."
The former walk-on made the most of those final 15 minutes. He led his team to three touchdown drives, 22 points and a comeback win.
After marching the Nittany Lions 73 yards for a touchdown, McGloin wasn't done. On the next offensive drive, the game-winning drive, he went 6-of-7 for 49 yards until Penn State found itself on the Northwestern 5-yard line.
McGloin again gathered his team into a tight circle. On third-and-4, he took the snap. The Wildcats pressed up the middle. The 6-foot-1 quarterback, who's never been confused for a dual-threat, rolled to his right and saw an opening.
With the crowd rising to its feet, he sprinted for the end zone, dove for the goal line, and a referee raised his arms to signal a touchdown. Penn State fans began jumping on the bleachers to the tune of "Zombie Nation," and the press box swayed.
"I was unsure what to do," McGloin said. "I didn't know if I had to dive or not, but my brace unfortunately got stuck in the ground so I looked like a complete fool."
The crowd didn't seem to mind. More than a dozen Penn State students were launched into the air by their classmates, mimicking 32 push-ups for each point the Nittany Lions' offense had earned to that point.
Bill O'Brien appears to be running out of compliments for his senior quarterback. Every week, the first-year head coach has been asked about the surprising play of his quarterback and, every week, he tries to give a similar answer.
"He's grown up a lot," O'Brien said with a smile. "I can't say enough about Matt McGloin."
On the first score of the fourth quarter, McGloin found Allen Robinson streaking over the middle on a fourth down conversion. If no one believed Penn State could rally before that play, McGloin was the exception.
"We have a quarterback with a lot of confidence, and it gives you confidence," Carter said. "He's not going to shy away from the pressure."
He certainly didn't Saturday.
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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35