The quarterback controversy will finally be over this week in Happy Valley.
There is no question at this point that back-up Matt McGloin should be under center for Penn State. It’s time to pull the plug on true freshman Rob Bolden for now and let him learn from the sidelines.
Bolden was surprisingly yanked after just two unimpressive series against Northwestern. He threw for just 43 yards, was sacked twice and fumbled the football. That apparently was enough for head coach Joe Paterno, who went with McGloin the rest of way despite Bolden’s requests to be put back in.
After a slow start, McGloin heated up and engineered a 47 second, nine play, 91-yard scoring drive right before the half. It was the first of five straight touchdowns for the Nittany Lions, who came back from a 21-point deficit to secure career win No. 400 for Paterno.
McGloin has been the main reason for Penn State’s recent success. The offense has gotten significantly better with him under center the last three weeks.
The Nits are averaging 36 points per game (18 points higher than with Bolden) and have seen a steady increase in rushing yards and total offense.
His confidence, which borders on cockiness, has also won over guys in the huddle. “He has a certain swagger to him,” said wide receiver Derek Moye after the Northwestern game:
“I think the guys really respond to that.” And those results speak for themselves.
McGloin has thrown for 551 yards and seven touchdowns in his last three games. More importantly, he’s not turning the ball over. He’s thrown just one pick and is finishing off drives.
Red Zone issues have not been a problem for the West Scranton gun-slinger. The Nittany Lions have scored nine touchdowns in their last 11 trips inside the 20. Bottom line, Penn State is just a better team with McGloin under center.
There’s an old saying in sports that ‘potential will get you beat.’ Bolden, without question, has a higher ceiling than McGloin but is struggling in this offense.
He’s thrown zero Red Zone touchdown passes in Big Ten play and has five touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season.
The biggest difference between the two quarterbacks is leadership: Bolden is cool, calm and collective; he doesn’t grab your attention in the huddle and shows little fire out there on the field.
Maybe watching McGloin’s attitude on the field will help him grow into a stronger leader.
Penn State fans can’t be worried about Bolden’s state of mind, or if he will transfer because he got benched. This is not another Pat Devlin scenario and it will only benefit him in the long run.
Sometimes, you have to take a step back before you move forward. Right now, watching and learning from McGloin is Bolden’s best interest and the teams.
McGloin has benefited from a strong running game and average defenses the last three weeks but you can’t argue his success. He’s getting results and that’s all that matters right now.
Let’s see if McGloin is the real deal this weekend at Ohio State. He’s definitely earned the right to prove himself once again.