Penn State starting quarterback, Matt McGloin, coming off one of the best games of his career, spoke to Andrew Porter and Scott Kret on TSP Radio Tuesday night, about Penn State’s 39-28 dramatic win over Northwestern on Saturday.
McGloin finished the game 35 of 51 through the air, with 281 yards passing, 2 TD’s, and 0 turnovers. He also added a game-winning rushing touchdown, his team-leading 5th rushing touchdown of the season. After starting the season 0-2, McGloin has lead Penn State to four straight wins. This win, was clearly one of, if not the, best game of McGloin’s career. It was, without a doubt, Penn State’s most meaningful and exhilarating win of the season, as they rallied to come back from an eleven point deficit to beat a 24th ranked, undefeated Northwestern team.
“Yea, it’s definitely up there,” McGloin said after being asked if the win was his most exciting win ever.“It’s a very, very, very exciting win, it was. It was a very emotional win for the program. Beating a top 25 team, beating an undefeated team at home, and doing it in the way that we did it was exciting. It just shows you the type of character this team has and the type of players we have on it.”
A major reason for Penn State’s comeback victory was their success on fourth down. Penn State was 5 out of 6 on fourth, yes fourth, down, including two crucial fourth down conversions late in the game, in which Coach Bill O’Brien put his trust in his quarterback.
The first crucial conversion came with just over 9 minutes to go in the game, as Penn State was trailing Northwestern 28-17, facing a 4th and 4 from the Northwestern 6 yard-line. Instead of taking the traditional approach and kicking a 23 yard field goal to make it a one possession game, Bill O’Brien put the ball, and essentially the game, in McGloin’s hands, who delivered a dart to Allen Robinson for a touchdown. It was Robinson’s second touchdown catch of the day, and conference leading 7th touchdown catch of the season.
The second crucial fourth down conversion came with a little over 6 minutes to go in the game. Penn State was now trailing 28-25, and facing a 4th and 2, from the Northwestern 19 yard-line. Again, O’Brien put the ball in McGloin’s hands and McGloin delivered. This time, McGloin showed unprecedented confidence and poise, patiently waiting for the play develop and eventually hitting Moseby-Felder for 13 yards and a first down. McGloin then capped the drive with a 5 yard touchdown run of his own, giving Penn State the lead for good.
“Well, Bill [O’Brien] and I are definitely on the same page with that,“ McGloin said about going for it fourth down. ”We’re both firm believers in that you get four downs for a reason, and why not keep doing it? We’ve been successful with it so far this season. Like you said, we were five of six against Northwestern, so why not continue to do it? The way that our defense is playing, it’s a numbers thing. We have the best advantage going for it, so were going to continue to do it. But at the same time, it’s smart going for it. At times we have to punt it, but we do it in the right situations, going for it on fourth down, and Coach O’Brien and the rest of the staff have done a great job with that.”
A big component of the game was the crowd. O’Brien asked the students to arrive early and stressed their importance before the game. The students orchestrated their own student white-out behind a serious social media ploy from Nittanyville, and it worked to a charm. The entire stadium was rocking from start to finish, and McGloin even gave the students/fans credit for the win.
“Most important, they [the fans] didn’t give up on us throughout the whole game,” McGloin said. ”That’s really something we fed off, throughout the whole game and into the fourth quarter. They really stuck with us, nobody left the stands. They continued to fight with us until the end there, and they didn’t give up on us and most importantly, we didn’t give up on ourselves.”
How much credit do the fans and students deserve?
“This win is just as much theirs as it is ours.”
McGloin, who is having a career year, sits a top the Big Ten, statically, in most categories. After six games, McGloin has accumulated 1,499 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns, only 2 INT’s, and a 61.5 completion percentage.
Penn State has a bye this week, before heading to Iowa to face the Hawkeyes on Saturday, October 20th at 8:00pm.