Penn State Football: Why Matthew McGloin Will Lead Nittany Lions over Iowa

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 20, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 06:  Matthew McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions drops back to pass against the Northwestern Wildcats during the game on October 6, 2012 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Coach Bill O'Brien's first two games with Penn State didn't go according to plan, as the Nittany Lions lost back-to-back games to Virginia and Ohio. 

But since then, the Nittany Lions have been unstoppable, winning four straight games going into Saturday night's tilt against Iowa. And much of that has been due to the surprisingly sensational play of senior quarterback Matthew McGloin.

Two weeks ago, O'Brien's boys upset the previously undefeated No. 24 Northwestern, 39-28. McGloin threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns on a school-record 35 completions.

More importantly, with the game on the line, McGloin delivered in the clutch, running for a five-yard touchdown with less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Now, with the Nittany Lions set to take on Iowa—who, like Penn State, is 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play—McGloin will lead the team to its fifth straight victory.

After McGloin's big day against Northwestern, O'Brien told Joe Juliano of the Philadelphia Inquirer why the Nittany Lions have rallied around the Scranton native:

He understands it's a 60-minute game. He's grown up a lot. When you're a senior and playing your last few games here at Penn State, that means a lot to him. Again, I can't say enough about Matt McGloin. He's gotten the job done to this point in the year.

Against Iowa, McGloin will need to be at his best, because Iowa's defense has been among the nation's stingiest thus far. But based on his play against the heavily-favored Wildcats on October 6th, he'll be up for the challenge.

Beating the Hawkeyes won't be easy, but if McGloin plays like he did in Penn State's last game, the team will come away with a big road win on Saturday night.