No one has had a bigger impact on the Penn State football team this season than backup quarterback Matt McGloin. The former walk-on already has better numbers statistically than starting QB Rob Bolden and has drastically made this entire team better in his last three games. Here’s my five keys to the Matt McGloin effect.
Let’s start with the obvious. McGloin has thrown for 551 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception in his last 11 quarters. Penn State is averaging 36 points a game over that stretch and has put up at least 35 points in consecutive games for the first time since 2008. Receiver Derrick Moye has had the biggest benefit from the QB change, catching three of his four touchdowns this season with McGloin under center.
Rob Bolden has not had much help on the ground, but for whatever reason, McGloin has benefited from a recent surge. Running back Evan Royster, who was held under 60 yards rushing in five of his first six games, has racked up consecutive 100-yard rushing games and scored three times during the McGloin stretch.
True freshman Silas Redd rushed for a career-high 131 yards against Northwestern. It was the first time two PSU running backs, Redd (131) and Royster (134), rushed for more than 130 yards in the same game since 1971. Penn State has also set team rushing highs in consecutive weeks.
Thanks to the running game resurgence, the Penn State offense has had something that it has been lacking all season, balance. The Nittany Lions set season highs in rushing (260), passing (268), total offense (528) and first downs (28) last weekend against Northwestern. They were the worst red zone offense in the Big Ten earlier this season but have silenced the critics, scoring 11 touchdowns in their last 14 red zone trips.
The defense hasn’t been great this season, but it has been better during McGloin’s last three games. The unit tied a season high with 10 tackles for a loss against Northwestern and also set a new mark with four sacks. The defense blanked its Big Ten opponent in the second half for the first time this season and also recorded its first red zone stop of the season last weekend in Happy Valley. Linebacker Michael Mauti has also seen some success, setting career highs in tackles in the last three games.
McGloin has been a part of two huge milestones at Penn State. He was the starting quarterback when Evan Royster broke Curt Warner’s school rushing record and led the Nittany Lions to a historic comeback victory over Northwestern for Joe Paterno’s 400th career victory. The 21-point deficit was the largest comeback win in Penn State history.