Saturday, January 1, 2011
Instant analysis: Florida 37, Penn State 24
By Adam Rittenberg
Missed opportunities and major mistakes hurt Penn State in a winnable Outback Bowl matchup against Florida. The Big Ten went 0-for-4 in the early bowls as the Lions fell to the Gators.
Here's a look back at Penn State's 37-24 defeat to Florida.
How the game was won: Florida made enough plays on defense and special teams early and bought enough time for its offense to show some life in the second half. Penn State sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin had a very rough day, completing 16 of 38 passes with a touchdown and five interceptions, including a pick-six when Penn State was driving for the potential game-winning touchdown. The Lions controlled the clock and ran the ball decently, but they made too many major mistakes to beat a talented Florida team.
Player of the game: Florida's Ahmad Black recorded two interceptions against McGloin, returning the second pick 80 yards for a touchdown. The Gators also received a nice lift from reserve quarterback Jordan Reed, who completed 8 of 13 passes and added 68 yards on the ground.
Stat of the game: McGloin had four interceptions in the final six regular-season games, leading Penn State to wins in four of those contests. He had five picks against Florida on Saturday, several of which led to Gators scores.
Unsung hero of the game: Penn State running back Evan Royster turned in a nice performance in his final collegiate game, racking up 98 rushing yards on 20 carries and adding four catches for 51 yards. He was Penn State's top offensive weapon for most of the day.
Second-guessing: Penn State kept McGloin in the game despite his continued struggles and the availability of former starter Rob Bolden. Most quarterbacks can't survive three or four interceptions -- much less five -- but Penn State stuck with McGloin rather than using the true freshman Bolden.
What it means: The Lions showed their youth at times and couldn't overcome the inconsistent play that plagued them for most of the season. Although Penn State should be a much better team in 2011, it needs to figure out the quarterback situation and make upgrades in several areas. Special-teams gaffes simply can't happen for a Joe Paterno-coached team, and the blocked punt returned for a touchdown gave Florida a real boost. Paterno has given every indication he'll be back to help a young team improve in the 2011 season.